Federal Drive interviews – Sept. 14

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

Here’s something that the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans agree on: The House has voted to reauthorize a post 9/11 law that makes it easier for federal agents to eavesdrop on conversations. The FISA Amendments Act lets the government read emails and listen in on phone calls without a warrant. The White House says it’s critical to fighting terrorism. But one senator says not so fast.

Mark LangleyPresident and CEO, Project Management Institute

Lawmakers think feds can learn a thing or two about efficiency from the private sector. Two House members…a Republican and a Democrat… are heading the new Government Efficiency Caucus. It is asking business experts to share tips and best practices. Langley is one of the first outside experts to participate.


Dr. Lynne MofensonChief of the National Institutes of Health’s pediatric, adolescent and Maternal AIDS Branch

When our next guest began working at the National Institutes of Health in the late eighties, an AIDS diagnosis was considered a death sentence. Nearly a quarter of children born to mothers with HIV contracted the disease. Since then, Mofenson has led risky and sometimes controversial research into ways to stop transmission from mother to child. It paid off with discoveries of groundbreaking drugs. The Partnership for Public Service has named Mofenson the Federal Employee of the Year. She was honored at an awards ceremony last night.

Sid ShapiroLaw school chair, Wake Forest University

At first blush, the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act looks like it makes a minor change to agency procedure. But the coalition that opposes the act says that by requiring independent agencies to get approval to rule changes from the executive branch…it could effectively end the independence of those agencies. That includes the Federal Elections Commission, Social Security Administration and the National Labor Relations Board. shapiro signed a letter to the Senate opposing the bill.