Federal News Countdown: pension contributions, debt ceiling

Today’s Federal News Countdown guests are:
Mark Amtower, host, Amtower Off Center
John Kamensky, Senior Fellow, IBM Center for the Business of Government

Mark Amtower’s stories
#3 College textbooks go online, interactive
From Government Computer News:

The textbook load is about to get lighter for some students at California State University, which has partnered with the Nature Publishing Group for an inexpensive, Web-based interactive textbook.

#2 Presidential hopeful would freeze federal salaries, reduce retirement benefits
From Government Executive:


GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty on Wednesday called for freezing government salaries, reducing benefits and shrinking the federal workforce.

“In many cases, public employees are overpaid and over-benefited compared to their private sector counterparts,” the former Minnesota governor told an audience at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington.

#1 Women-Owned Small Businesses Can Expect An Increase in Federal Contracting Opportunities As The WOSB Program Has Now Been Implemented Under the FAR
From David, Brody & Dondershine, LLP newsletter:

On April 1, 2011, DOD, GSA and NASA issued an interim rule designed to implement the Women-Owned Small Business Program (WOSB) under the government-wide Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) for all procurements covered under the FAR. 76 Fed. Reg. 18304 (April 1, 2011). This new rule creates FAR Subpart 19.15 which outlines the WOSB program and the procedures that a Contracting Officer (CO) must use for establishing restricted competitions for WOSBS, including Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs). The new rule reaffirms that the status of an EDWOSB or WOSB concern is determined in accordance with the SBA qualification requirements set forth under 13 CFR Part 127. Interested parties are invited to submit comments on the new interim rule up to May 31, 2011. However, the rule is effective immediately.

John Kamensky’s stories
#3 From Nextgov: OMB to cut two transparency programs, suspend others
From Government Executive:

Two transparency initiatives and numerous improvements to open government programs will be scrapped as a result of a 75 percent funding cut lawmakers agreed to in April to avert a federal shutdown, officials said Tuesday.

#2 5 percent pay cut on the table: How increasing your retirement contribution would affect your pension
From Federal Times:

Nearly 1.7 million federal employees would take home thousands of dollars less each year under a deficit-reduction plan gaining traction with lawmakers and the White House.

#1 Treasury raids your pension – but don’t worry, Geithner says
From Federal Times:

For the past few days, the government has been brushing up against its $14.3 trillion debt limit. To buy time and free up more borrowing authority, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has resorted to time-tested maneuvers involving two of the biggest federal retirement funds: the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF), which provides benefits to retired and disabled federal employees in the Civil Service Retirement System, and the Thrift Savings Plan’s Government Securities Investment Fund, better known as the G Fund.