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Bills and laws for federal workers advance

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Who says Congress doesn't do anything? If you weren't checking the blog throughout the day on Thursday (and why not?!) you may have missed the news that lawmakers this week approved several pieces of legislation related to government operations and the federal workforce (thanks to colleague Joe Davidson for spotting most of these):

1.) A a long-awaited bill to reform the federal agency responsible for protecting more than 9,000 federal sites and millions of federal workers earned the approval of a Senate committee. It'll have to reconcile itself with a similar House bill.

2.) The House and Senate approved legislation that strongly encourages -- but does not legally require -- major-party presidential nominees and incumbent presidents to start planning for the presidential transition before Election Day. The bill heads to the White House for the signature of President Obama, (who might have to transition out of the White House in two years).

3.) Teleworking options for federal workers are one step closer to reality as the Senate passed a bill requiring agencies to develop policies allowing most employees to work remotely. The bill goes back to the House, which passed a similar version in July.

4.) Federal agencies have to hire "plain writing" officials (no, really) as the House and Senate passed a law requiring that the government publish official documents in plain English. Supporters figure that writing in plainspoken speak should help Americans better understand their government. (No, it will take MUCH more than that.)

Is there anything we missed? (Lawmakers took a pass on most of First Lady Michelle Obama's legislative priorities, for example.) What other issues has Congress neglected?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: In case you've been under a rock, Rahm Emanuel is leaving -- so read verything you ever need/wanted to know about President Obama's new (interim? permanent?) chief of staff, Pete Rouse. Former president Jimmy Carter released from the hospital.

Four suicides in a week take a toll on Fort Hood: So far this year, Army officials have confirmed that 14 soldiers at Fort Hood have committed suicide.

Mixed corporate reactions to next moves on net neutrality: The biggest debate revolves around the Federal Communications Commission's proposal to assert its authority over broadband services in order to carry out a net neutrality rule.

Oops! FDA error is talk of Henhouse: Industry executives and state officials said an agency official broke a basic biosecurity rule: keep vehicles as far from the hens as possible.

As offshore drilling moratorium nears an end, questions about what's next: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is getting ready to take his finger off what he has called the "pause" button on deepwater oil drilling.

Supreme Court will weigh in on NASA contractor dispute: The high court will hear arguments from contractors who claim the government has violated their privacy with intrusive background checks.

Postal rate hike request denied: Regulators said that the mail agency's recent financial woes were caused by a flawed business model and not the recent recession.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | October 1, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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The plain language bill does not apply to law or regulation. Until it applies to law and regulation, it is a worthless bill. If the Gov't is for the people by the people it's laws should be written by the people. It should not require a paid service -- a lawyer -- to have real access to understanding and knowing the law and regulations. Problem is, people are not going to enact laws that will obsolete themselves. This law as written and approved by Congress is essentially worthless. It is limited greatly, and most people no longer do their own taxes without the help of dirt cheap or free software assistance. It is so watered down that it essentially says what half-buttock run agencies already do anyway.

Posted by: NovaMike | October 1, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey O'Keefe. Enough with stuff like: "The bill heads to the White House for the signature of President Obama, (who might have to transition out of the White House in two years)."

Keep your politics to yourself. Mike Causey would never had said anything like this. The Wash Post needs to re-think who doing this column. GO AWAY!!!

Posted by: Dog-1 | October 1, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Tele"working" LOL - Bureaucratese for a 4-day work week. We like it 'cause you just can't get all that yardwork, shopping, etc. done on the weekend.

Posted by: wrangler1 | October 1, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

@wrangler1, just because you have a dishonest bent do not assume everyone does. I telework one day a week and get more done in that one day than I do in the office for several days because I don't have to stop for meetings and staff issues. I have been told I am much easier to reach on my TW days than when I am in the office. I also work a longer day because I am not rushing for a train. Pretty much everyone I know that has TW says the same thing. We also worked when the govt was shut down because of snow. Stop projecting.

Posted by: mystaka | October 1, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Mr. O'Keefe - nothing was done despite what you said. Things were bottled up in more of the "same old - same old," awaiting reconciliation and, ultimately, POSSIBLE, passage.

This has been a "DO NOTHING BUT HARM" Democratic Congress following the leadership of it's "DO-NOTHING BUT HARM" policies of its leadership on both the Hill and the White House.

Thank goodness for the Republicans and Tea Party people who will become the majority in both houses of Congress next year!

Posted by: tcmits | October 1, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Dog1 - "what politics" from Ed? Virtually every poll today gives the indication that Obama will be the Jimmy Carter of the 21st Century and will be sent packing, as a failed President, in 2012 by a very conservative Republican.

Together with a Republican and Tea Party lead Congress, that President will get America back on the right track after being led down the road to class warfare, socialistic medicine and a return to the welfare states of FDR and LBJ.

Posted by: tcmits | October 1, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Saying that the President "might have to transition out" is not politics. It's a fact - it's not certain one way or the other. It would have been politics if Ed had stated "hopefully will have to transition out".

Posted by: justanotherguy | October 1, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

tcmits - and back to the glorious eight years when thousands of American soldiers and innocent civilians had to die because of a war started by Republicans who lied to the whole country? WOW

Posted by: rivegauche | October 1, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

They can pass all there crooked laws that they want, an they can an will be undone by Americans that demand them too! They are unlawfull these laws are not voted on by the Americans that would not allow them too. America wants them fired then none of there shady deals will worth the paper they are printed on!

Posted by: JWTX | October 1, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

NovaMike you rock! I agree to agree !

Posted by: JWTX | October 1, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Government Workers now want teleworking days. Lazy bums eating at the trough want more more more.

Posted by: zap123 | October 1, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

It's time to wake up! America is in trouble. Words mean something. It is time to act. Are we getting the real facts from the media? Have we the people been duped? I once heard a TV newscaster proudly boast, "The news is what we make it." The question is ... Have we been politically blinded? See if you have! This is an eye-opener. Google this... K Carl Smith... (include spaces), the link is, and watch this video IF YOU DARE. Please copy and paste this on your email list to all you know. Copy and paste this it at all opportunities on news item comments sections such as this one. America needs to know the truth -- we are the enslaved of the government slave master. This is an important message for all Americans. It could be the most important for these times. If we don't fix America for us, for future generations -- who will?

Posted by: SigmoidFroid | October 1, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

To wrangler1: Not to mention freeing us to watch porno movies on our on time and on our own computers!!

Posted by: tvwells | October 2, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

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