Federal News Countdown: Competing budget plans, DHS morale

Today’s guests on the Federal News Countdown:

Dan Blair, president and CEO, National Academy of Public Administration
Jon Desenberg, senior policy director, Performance Management and Human Capital Management Divisions, Performance Institute

Dan Blair’s stories
#3 Mega Millions: D.C. Lottery prints commemorative tickets for historic $640 million jackpot
From The Washington Post:

The D.C. Lottery is printing commemorative Mega Millions tickets to mark the biggest jackpot in U.S. History. The jackpot grew to a historic $640 million after five Mega Millions ticket holders fell just shy of the six-number combination on Tuesday night.


Blair says: “A solution to our budget woes… or at least it’s a start!”

#2 Expert: USPS pullout would jeopardize federal health insurance program
From Federal Times:

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe will testify Tuesday that the U.S. Postal Service could save nearly $7 billion in the first year of running its own health care plan, largely through eliminating the need to prefund retiree health benefits. But a leading federal health care expert will blast the Postal Service’s plan as unrealistic and disastrous.

Democratic budget plan doesn’t touch federal pay and benefits
GOP budget plan includes pay freeze extension, workforce reduction

From GovExec:

The House Democratic budget plan does not include any provisions affecting the pay or benefits of federal employees, a top lawmaker confirmed Tuesday. Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen, whose district includes many federal workers, said there is nothing in the House Democratic budget blueprint that would modify the compensation of government employees — a key difference from the Republican plan unveiled by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and narrowly approved last week by the Budget Committee.

Jon Desenberg’s stories
#3 Senators to grill agencies over insourcing, outsourcing practices
From Federal Times:

A Senate panel wants to hear how federal agencies justify spending billions on contractors without properly weighing the costs. Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the contracting oversight subcommittee, and ranking member Rob Portman, R-Ohio, asked officials from five federal agencies to explain how they determine if using contractors is cost-effective and what they do to account for contractor compensation, overhead and costs associated with contract management and oversight.

#2 Analysis: Lots of budget talk, no action until lame duck
From Federal News Radio:

To date, four 2013 budget proposals have been introduced – one from President Obama, one from House Republicans, one from House Democrats and the latest one introduced by a bipartisan group. “What we’re seeing here is lunacy in the the budget debate and it happens every year,” said Mike Lillis of the Hill newspaper

#1 Homeland Security’s morale is at code red
From The Washington Post:

If the homeland’s security were dependent on employee morale, we’d be in big trouble. Fortunately, the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security are committed to the agency’s mission, even as the agency fails to inspire them. You know things are bad for workers when a bipartisan congressional hearing is called to examine a department’s drooping spirit.