Federal Drive Show Blog – May 17, 2013

This is the Federal Drive show blog. Here you can listen to the interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day and links to additional resources.

Today’s guests:


Marcus Owens
Caplin and Drysdale

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Ousted Internal Revenue Service leader Steven Miller goes before a House panel today. The question he’s most likely to get: How could it happen? What caused the IRS to seemingly discriminate against certain groups that applied for tax-exempt status? We asked Marcus Owens that question. He used to lead the IRS exempt organizations division. He’s now with the law firm Caplin and Drysdale. Owens says each year, the IRS receives 60,000 tax-exempt applications. Everything from the Boy Scouts to hospitals. Most applications are routine.

Andrew Sherrill
director of education, workforce and income issues
Government Accountability Office

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In President Barack Obama’s new executive order on closing the pay gap between men and women, he cites this statistic: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. Now that’s for the general workforce. It’s not as bad in the federal government. Back in 2009, the Government Accountability Office calculated that female feds are paid 89 cents for every dollar male feds earn: An 11-cent gap. To close it, you have to know why it exists in the first place. Andrew Sherrill, GAO’s director of education, workforce and income issues provides insight on the report he authored.

Jason Miller
executive editor
Federal News Radio

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Federal agencies spend up to 80 percent of their IT budgets just on keeping outdated systems going. Some lawmakers say it’s time for the government to catch up with the private sector. They’re sponsoring the DATA Act. It’s gone through several drafts in the House. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller joins us to discuss the latest version.

Katherine Hammack
assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment
Department of the Army

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The Army has made the first awards under a $7 billion renewable energy contract. Five companies will help the Army go green through power purchase agreements. The companies invest up front in building and operating the power plants. The Army buys the power when it’s created.

Todd Ruger
Capitol Hill reporter
The National Law Journal and Legal Times

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Several agencies have dealt with sequestration by asking Congress to let them move money around in their budgets. The FAA, for example, ended furloughs after getting the authority to shift money to operations from other programs. But one group says the only solution to sequestration is more money. The judiciary is asking the White House and Congress for nearly $73 million in emergency funds. Todd Ruger has written about this for the National Law Journal and the Legal Times.

From Our Reporters

Scott Gould‘s last day as the Veterans Affairs Department’s deputy secretary is today. After four years as the department’s chief operating officer, Gould decided it was time to go back to the private sector. He becomes the fourth key political appointee to leave VA in the last four months. Gould tells executive editor Jason Miller about his accomplishments and where VA still needs to improve.

The Army’s intelligence and IT communities have spent the past several years building a family of systems designed to remedy past intelligence failures that were caused by an inability to share information between systems and between agencies. That system is now up and running, but the Army is mounting an all-out campaign to defend it. Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu explains.


House committee to grill ousted IRS chief (Federal News Radio)

Research finds new channels to trigger mobile malware (Phys.org)

Pentagon Recognizes Transgender Veteran, Advocates See A “Shift” (BuzzFeed)

Senate confirms physicist Moniz as energy chief (Federal News Radio)

House bill protects homeland security budget (Federal News Radio)

Franken, Walz Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Tackle VA Backlog (Sen. Al Franken)

Obama vows to end ‘scourge’ of military sex abuse (Federal News Radio)