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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.
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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...

How Many National Laboratories Can You Name?

The Energy Department operates national laboratories that house researchers in everything from nuclear fusion projects to biosciences to photon science to environmental science and work on renewable energy. The 17 facilities employ tens of thousands of federal employees and have multi-million dollar allotments in the federal budget, but are largely unknown.

The system of national laboratories grew out of a need for central technological and scientific research centers during World War II. The most famous is probably Los Alamos, thanks to its key role in the Manhattan Project.

Recently, the Energy Department put together a video asking people to name as many National Labs as they can in 60 seconds and putting them up against Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Check it out and learn more about the facilities in the Storify below the video.


        

Another Scandal, Another Resignation

Katherine Archuleta may have set a federal record by making the trip from “I’m not resigning” to “I quit” in less than 24 hours. 

This suggests that perhaps there was a call from the White House encouraging the Office of Personnel Management director to reconsider her position. Either way, Archuleta’s days were numbered after Thursday’s announcement that the personal (in some cases, very personal) information of more than 21 million people was compromised in the latest OPM data breach. When members of the president’s own party begin to call for the resignation of an agency head, the handwriting is on the wall.

This is a time-honored exercise in accountability, Washington-style. In huge public scandals, somebody has to take the fall.

“We understand that, ultimately, the leader is responsible,” said Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, after Archuleta’s announcement. “However, we feel that it is unreasonable to place the sole burden of blame for the data breach on the shoulders of Director Archuleta, who has served for less than two years. The OPM data breaches were years in the making, with many warning signs, and now all federal agencies, the administration, and Congress must...