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By Ed O'Keefe

What? You missed The Eye's politics and government chat on Thursday? Well, here are the highlights:

Thanks WaPo for Matthew Hoh story: Mr. O'Keefe, Thanks to WaPo for the Matthew Hoh story, do you think he will meet with President Obama and the joint chiefs as Daniel Ellsberg mentioned on CSpan yesterday?

Ed O'Keefe: He may, we'll see, though that might set a tricky precedent for the president: Would he/Should he then meet with every other government employee that disagrees with the way he's handling things?

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Boston: What is the current state of play on insourcing as it relates to program management or acquisition support contracts and personnel? How much of a dent in the currently outsourced services in this area can the government actually make in the next 3-5 years and what are the limitations and pushbacks?

Ed O'Keefe: Good question Boston! (Nice to see those government questions mixed in with the politics.)

As I reported earlier this week in The Federal Eye: "Agencies and departments will need to increase the number of contracting officers by at least 5 percent, according to new guidelines issued Tuesday by the Office of Management and Budget.

"Agencies must submit plans to hire more workers responsible for government contracting to OMB by Monday. Some agencies may experience a higher increase in their acquisition workforce.

"The guidelines also instruct agencies to slash spending on "high risk" contracts by 10 percent this fiscal year. Such agreements are considered wasteful, redundant, noncompetitive or poorly managed. Those cuts are in addition to a mandated 7 percent cut in total government contracts over the next two years."

The government hopes to put a big dent in the outsourcing this fiscal year by cutting those "high risk" contracts and then hopes to see further reductions this fiscal year and next.

The potential limitations? Guidelines that don't clearly tell the agencies what to do, and worse -- an OMB that doesn't conduct proper, thorough follow up.

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Reston, Va.: Is President Obama going to cancel the NASA Moon program despite the successful test flight of the new rocket (Ares-1X)?

Ed O'Keefe: This is one of those issues that keeps getting pushed to the backburner with all the wars and health care reform going on. There's no clear answer from the White House yet on what it plans to do.

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Rockville, Maryland: Most who work (or worked) for the government will say the problem with outsourcing is that they never check a few years later to see if all the promised cost cutting ever happened or not. And there is no way to put it back the way it was if the government was a better deal. That makes the whole process something of a joke.

I thank Al Gore for "reinventing government."

Ed O'Keefe: Good point -- the real key is the follow up years later, and there's going to have to be an incentive for OMB and the agencies to do it. What is it? Stay tuned.

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Washington, D.C.: Wondering if you've been following that story out of rural Eastern Kentucky about the naked corpse of a murdered Federal Census Worker found strung up by a tree in a cemetery with "FED" written on his chest?

It's so terrible, right?

Are there any new developments in the story?

Ed O'Keefe: There aren't. Local authorities and FBI continue to investigate, but they've said nothing new in weeks.

If and when they do, I'm on it.

Read the full Post Politics Hour chat here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 30, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
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