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Federal Employees News Digest : Sep 30, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 • VOL. 63, NO. 11 Connecting the dots Political/media/government Wash- ington lives off sound bites. We love buzz words or phrases that --- like advertising jingles--- say a lot without saying much. In the era of the 24/7 round-the-clock news cycle, sound bites are essential to catch and hold people's attention. Radio and TV, and increasingly web- sites, have only seconds to grab and hold you before your remote seeks out some- thing better. Up until the Navy Yard shooting, the phrase du jour (for part of August and September) used by liberals, conserva- tives, Republicans, Democrats and the media was simple: Boots-on-the-ground. Or BOTG. That, and the elusive line about a red line. BOTG said it all. There would either be BOTG in Syria, or not. Experts from a dozen government operations were called upon to supply solid intelligence, especially about WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in Syria. Some people think the government (which has reportedly killed more than 100,000 people with bullets and rockets) stepped over the line when it killed a few thousand more, but this time using gas. As it frequently happens, the State Department was far more hawkish than the Defense Department, which was previously called the War Department. Government workers, both as informed INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Telework's next steps 3 • In Brief 4 • Legal Matters 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3 Feds face shutdown As fiscal year 2013 wound to a close, the con- tinuing failure of Congress to find common ground to produce even a temporary continuing resolution to fund the government ground down to one likely possibility: shutdown. Whether or not a CR is passed by both houses before Oct. 1, funding is likely to be just short term, possibly leading to more contentious budget votes and even another shutdown threat in the near-future. ACA funding at issue The key sticking point on the cusp of the dead- line remains the highly politicized Affordable Care Act signed into law three years ago. A majority in the House on Sept. 20 approved temporary fund- ing of federal agencies and programs---but only if the ACA is defunded. That House bill would continue federal funding in FY 2014 between October and December at the same level as currently. A Senate version of the CR, as of press time, remained in limbo the week of Sept. 23. But Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and others in the upper chamber vowed that any bill that does not contain funding for the ACA will not pass. Also as of press time, one Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was pulling out the stops to slow a vote---which had the potential to stop Republicans and Democrats from voting on any bill by the deadline---creating another path to a shutdown. From Sept. 24-25, Cruz went on a more than 21-hour marathon speech to dramatize his oppo- sition to the ACA and slow Senate debate on a CR that would include its funding. In short, sharp partisanship over whether to fund the ACA or not continues to highlight, and harden, deadlock in Congress---threatening failure to pass any CR and a government shutdown. Unions condemn deadlock "This is an attention-diverting, time-consum- ing waste of invaluable resources that, by any responsible measure, could and should be avoid- ed," National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley told FEND. "NTEU continues to make the case to Congress that sequestration must end." "Fiscal 2014 funding levels have to be increased [and] action needs to be taken quickly to avoid a harmful government shutdown," Kelley said. "Federal employees, who understand and believe in their everyday contributions to the public, want to work." "There is a political war going on in this coun- try, and federal employees are the collateral dam- age," National Federation of Federal Employees National President William R. Dougan told FEND. "For now, we are asking our members to share their stories about how a government shutdown will impact them, their families, and their local communities," Dougan continued. "We are asking them to share those stories with lawmakers, the local media, and with groups and individuals in their local areas." The American Federation of Government Employees also offered its criticism of the dead- lock and looming shutdown---and, like NTEU and NFFE, called for action. AFGE launched a new feature on its website, "Shutdown Central," an interactive page offering the union's take on the shutdown---informing members on the sub- ject and offering links for them to contact their senators and member of Congress to demand they prevent or reverse it. "Obstructionists in Congress are threatening to do the unthinkable: Shut down the Federal government as leverage to enact their own agen- da," the AFGE website said. "A shutdown would be disastrous for America's economic recovery, middle-class, and the livelihoods of our AFGE
Sep 23, 2013
Oct 7, 2013