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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

A Government Shutdown Looks Increasingly Likely

With one house of Congress already on August recess and Republican lawmakers readying a bid to defund Planned Parenthood in September, the chances for a government shutdown are rising on the pundit-o-meter.

Longtime budget analyst Stan Collender on Monday raised his semi-mathematical odds for a shutdown from a previous 40 percent to 60 percent. “It’s now more likely than not that a shutdown will result from the craziness going on in Washington,” he wrote on his Forbes Magazine blog. With few appropriations bills passed, few legislative days left and presidential veto threats looming, “in budget technical terms, the House and Senate leadership will be flying by the seat of its pants.”

On this weekend’s “McLaughlin Group” panel broadcast, where semi-mathematical predictions have run amok since the 1980s, the dialog went as follows:

HOST JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Are we in for Capitol Hill fireworks this fall? Eleanor?

ELEANOR CLIFT OF THE DAILY BEAST: This will be the fall from hell, but not because Speaker Boehner is in any kind of jeopardy. . . They’re going to bump up against the spending cliffs. They’re probably going to shut down the government over defunding Planned Parenthood.


Conservative Blogger Wants GOP to Shut Down the Government Over Planned Parenthood

The federal government is in danger of a shutdown this fall over a disagreement between Republicans and the Obama administration on broad spending levels. But, if influential blogger Erick Erickson has his way, there will be a shutdown for a narrower reason. 

Erickson wants lawmakers to protest funding to reproductive health organization Planned Parenthood.

"Shut down the government if that is what it takes. Shut it down now. If we cannot stand on this high ground, we should not stand at all," the RedState.com editor-in-chief wrote Thursday on the site.

Erickson said Planned Parenthood does not need or deserve federal grants -- which amounted to $538 million in 2013-2014, according to The Wall Street Journal. The organization brings in plenty of money on its own, Erickson said: 

Despite making that much money, the federal government gives Planned Parenthood millions of dollars each year. The Democrats say the money does not pay for abortions, but your federal taxpayer dollars subsidize an organization that could do quite well on its own.

Erickson criticized congressional leaders over the touchstone Republican issue.

"John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are engaged in failure theater over the news. They are ensuring that votes to defund Planned Parenthood...

Federal Employee Union Backs Out of Giving Donald Trump a Tour at the Border

A union representing federal employees has reversed course on giving a tour of its work area to Donald Trump, saying it does not want to give the appearance of an endorsement.

The National Border Patrol Council’s Local 2455, which represents BP agents in Laredo, Texas, originally agreed to give the billionaire and controversial Republican presidential candidate a tour of the U.S.-Mexico border to show him the situation on the ground. The union abruptly pulled out of that agreement, however, after “communicating with members of the NBPC at the national level.” NBPC is a division of the American Federation of Government Employees.

“An endorsement was never discussed for any presidential candidate. Local 2455 does not endorse candidates for any political office,” said Hector Garza, the local's president, in a statement Thursday. “For these reasons, Local 2455 will not participate in any events with Mr. Trump.”

The intention behind the tour, Garza said, was to give Trump -- and the members of the media that follow him -- a “boots on the ground” perspective.

“Our purpose is to support and protect the men and women who protect our borders,” Garza said. “Make no mistake, our border with Mexico is not...

On His Final Daily Show Appearance, Obama Touts Feds, Efficient Government

President Obama made his seventh and final appearance with Jon Stewart Tuesday night before the comedian steps down from the show in August. Since 2005, the president has visited with The Daily Show to talk politics, tout the Affordable Care Act and talk about plans for his presidency.

In a Web-exclusive video posted Tuesday night, Obama touched on the management of the Veterans Affairs Department and his administration's improvements in veterans' care, while also decrying the budget process in Congress. "When you look at the budget historically, it's been short-changed," Obama explained. "We've been able to systematically add additional resources but you still have this massive structure with millions of people being served and what we're having to do is systematically work through some of the challenges of a big, creaky bureaucracy."

Defending the department under his presidency, Obama touted improvements in the disability claims backlog and level of care.

"We've now been able to cut down on waiting times [and] reduce the backlog for disability claims by about 80 percent," Obama told Stewart.

The president also suggested that VA has its work cut out, budget-wise, thanks to an expansion of coverage to those suffering...

Here’s Your Chance to Vote Someone On To Government’s All-Star Team

Last week, the American League beat the National League in baseball’s annual All-Star Game, with a team of starters voted on by fans across the country (especially those of the Kansas City Royals).

This fall, the annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals winners, representing the all-stars of federal service, will be unveiled. And this year, for the first time, you can vote for one of the winners. The Partnership for Public Service, which runs the awards, has added a new People’s Choice category.

The 30 finalists for this year’s medals are all eligible to win the People’s Choice Award, which will be presented this fall at a gala dinner in Washington. The winner also gets a special reception in his or her office.

Voting is now open for the People’s Choice Award, and closes on Sept. 30.

The finalists also are eligible to win in the program’s eight traditional categories, including Citizen Services, Management Excellence and Federal Employee of the Year. The recipients of those awards are chosen by a committee including representatives from government, academia and the private sector.

Click here to view the finalists and vote for the People’s...