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Federal Eye: September 19, 2010 - September 25, 2010

Presidential transition bill passes the Senate

Republicans presidential candidates aren't the only politicians thinking about 2012: The U.S. Senate took a few minutes today to think ahead, approving a bill that would encourage presidential candidates to plan sooner for the presidential transition.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 24, 2010; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Administration, Congress  
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Dozens of ex-postal officials got generous no-bid deals, report says

Dozens of former top executives and hundreds of former employees have returned to the mail agency in recent years as private contractors, sometimes earning double the salaries they earned as full-time workers, according to a new watchdog report.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 24, 2010; 3:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Oversight, Postal Service  
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Longest-serving federal prosecutor in history retires

Through administrations Democratic and Republican, he kept working - even after the government named a Justice Department building for him in 2000.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 24, 2010; 3:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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TSA boss unapologetic about liquids ban

In the video above Transportation Security Administration Chief John Pistole share details on the types of explosives used in last year's thwarted Christmas Day bombing attempt and is unapologetic about the ongoing ban on carrying liquids through airport security checkpoints.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 24, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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White House assures skeptics on 'don't ask'

The White House assured gay rights groups on Thursday evening that the Justice Department's decision to object to immediately ending the military's ban on openly gay service members in no way diminishes President Obama's goal of ending the "don't ask, don't tell" law.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 24, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Administration, Eye Opener, Military  
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Mary Landrieu to block Jack Lew's nomination to serve as OMB chief

President Obama's pick to serve as head of the Office of Management and Budget looked headed for an easy Senate confirmation, until this afternoon, when Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) announced she plans to place a hold on the nomination until the Obama administration lifts a moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 23, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Confirmation Hearings, Congress  
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Diplomats in Iraq at risk, commission says

Now that most U.S. military forces have left Iraq, the American diplomats they left behind face grave security problems that the State Department is ill-prepared to tackle.

By Joe Davidson  | September 23, 2010; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress, Contracting  
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Which federal employees are happy? (Video)

The Washington Post's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt speaks to Max Stier, president of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, about the best places to work for within the federal government and how leadership plays a key role in employee satisfaction.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 23, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Video Report, Workplace Issues  
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Jon Stewart explains 'don't ask, don't tell'...

Jon Stewart sums up "don't ask, don' tell" and frankly, does so brilliantly (save for the profanity).

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 23, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Military  
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Federal judge's impeachment trial ends

The Senate impeachment trial of a federal judge is over, but he'll have to wait until after the midterm elections to learn his fate.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 23, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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GOP 'Pledge to America' targets federal workers

Buried within the 21-page GOP's Pledge to America is a proposal long expected by federal workers, their unions and allies.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 23, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Postal Service reform bill set for release

If Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) gets his way, the U.S. Postal Service could soon end Saturday mail deliveries, close thousands of post offices and open new ones in grocery stores. The agency would also recover overpayments to a federal employee retirement fund and use the money to provide health benefits for retired postal workers. Oh, and you might be able to ship beer and wine.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 23, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Postal Service  
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Gay activists look to the courts to end 'don't ask, don't tell'

Gay activists are turning their attention to two federal courtrooms on the West Coast despite the failure of efforts in the Senate this week to repeal "don't ask, don't tell."

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 22, 2010; 9:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Military  
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Assaults on census workers up dramatically in 2010

Temporary Census Bureau workers were the target of about 700 incidents of violence this year, more than four time as many than ten years ago.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 22, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Census  
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Obama taps GAO's temporary boss to serve permanently

Updated 7:05 p.m. ET President Obama moved Wednesday to give one of the government's acting watchdogs permanent status, naming Gene L. Dodaro to lead the Government Accountability Office. Dodaro, a more than 30-year veteran of the Congressional watchdog agency, has...

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 22, 2010; 4:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Administration, Oversight, Revolving Door  
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White House group begins push for environmental justice

Five Cabinet officials gathered today to restart the federal government's effort to stop environmental discrimination. The interagency working group on environmental justice, which had not met for a decade, came together at the White House on Wednesday morning to discuss ways to insure that low-income and minority communities don't unfairly bear the brunt of environmental pollution.

By Krissah Thompson  | September 22, 2010; 1:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Lincoln Memorial hosting a naturalization ceremony

The National Park Service will host a naturalization ceremony for 27 new citizens on Wednesday as part of a multi-agency celebration of U.S. citizenship.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 22, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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'Don't ask, don't tell': The legal options

The U.S. Senate failed to move on "don't ask, don't tell" (at least for now), so attention is turning to two federal courtrooms out West.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 22, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Military  
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'Don't ask, don't tell': McCain scolds reporters

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had a testy exchange with reporters shortly after Tuesday's U.S. Senate vote on "don't ask, don't tell."

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 21, 2010; 7:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (112)
Categories:  Congress  
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Lawrence Summers is going back to Harvard

President Obama's top economic adviser will leave the White House by the end of the year.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 21, 2010; 6:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration, Revolving Door  
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'Don't ask, don't tell' vote fails: Reaction

Reaction from across the political spectrum to Tuesday's failed attempt to move forward with efforts to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 21, 2010; 5:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Military  
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Senate fails in attempt to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell'

Efforts to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" suffered a near-fatal blow on Tuesday as senators failed to end debate on the annual defense policy bill by a vote of 56 to 43.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 21, 2010; 11:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (332)
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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LaHood scolds automakers for distracting features in cars

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is especially upset that cars now feature web features that provide even more distractions for drivers.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 21, 2010; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Administration  
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Senate panel approves Jack Lew for OMB

President Obama's nominee to serve as budget chief is one step closer to confirmation, as the first of two Senate panels unanimously approved his nomination on Tuesday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 21, 2010; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration, Confirmation Hearings, Congress  
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Another bill to revamp federal building security

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is pushing for changes at the agency responsible for protecting thousands of federal buildings more than 14 months after he promised to take quick action.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 21, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Congress, Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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FBI probes were improper, Justice says

Turns out the Federal Bureau of Investigation improperly opened and extended investigations of some activist groups and wrongly put some folks on a terrorist watch list, according to The Post's Jerry Markon.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 20, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Administration, Oversight  
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Justice, Interior IT programs first casualties of federal review

The Obama administration continues to find way to cut information technology costs. The Post's Majorie Censer has news on a few more cuts set for announcement on Monday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 20, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Administration, Contracting  
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Workers at Capitol Visitor Center to unionize

The men and women who conduct tours and assist visitors at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center plan to join a union.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 20, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Janet Napolitano on her 'Big Sis' nickname

Homeland Security Janet Napolitano doesn't think the United States has overreacted to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, thinks current terrorism threats are smaller and from newer groups and has kind words for a nickname she's earned from Matt Drudge.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 20, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Administration  
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Day-care center for feds to stay open

Small Savers, the day-care center steps from the White House that was threatened with closure under a provision of the new financial reform law, has won a reprieve.

By Lisa Rein  | September 20, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Bill would furlough federal workers for 2 weeks

A Republican lawmakers wants to keep federal workers away from the office without pay for two weeks next fiscal year to help cut government costs. But unlike other cost-cutting bills introduced by the GOP, this one would also force a 10 percent pay cuts for lawmakers.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 20, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (83)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Lady Gaga going to Maine to rally against 'don't ask, don't tell'

Lady Gaga plans to visit Maine on Monday in an effort to convince the state's two Republican senators to vote to repeal the law banning gays from serving in the military.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 19, 2010; 9:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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