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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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A Crusader for Limited Government to the End

When most people leave Congress, especially after relatively long careers, they like to tout their legislative accomplishments to burnish their legacies. But Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is not your typical lawmaker, and as he gets set to retire from the Senate due to health issues, he's singing a different tune.

In a video message to his Oklahoma consituents announcing his retirement, Coburn focuses not on laws he helped pass -- even those that limited federal power and aimed to cut waste -- but on the measures he failed to prevent from becoming law.

"I have made a decision that I will return to Oklahoma as a private citizen, to live under the laws that I helped to write, and unfortunately under many laws which I hoped to have stopped, but couldn't," Coburn says in the video.

"Everyone wants Washington to change," Coburn adds, "and that means changing everyone in Washington." Including himself, apparently.

See Coburn's full message below.

Obama Lauds OMB Staffers

On Friday evening, President Obama signed into law the omnibus appropriations bill funding federal agencies through the end of the fiscal year. And he did so in an unusual location: the New Executive Office Building near the White House, and home to many of the employees of the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama told those employees said he chose to make the trek to the facility "because it represents the extraordinary work of so many of you."

In his remarks, Obama was effusive in his praise for OMB staffers and other federal employees throughout Washington's recent fiscal follies:

I know the Office of Management and Budget was one of the hardest hit during the sequester and a lot of you were furloughed.  A lot of you who remained during some of these furloughs had to carry extraordinary burdens, and so it took a personal toll on you and it took a personal toll on your family. ...

Across the board, our government is going to be operating without hopefully too many glitches over the next year.  And not only is that good for all of you and all the dedicated public servants in the federal government, but most importantly ...

Last Chance to Nominate a Peak Public Servant

If you know of someone who’s working above and beyond the call of duty in your organization, now is the time to try to get him or her for some recognition. Because time is just about up to nominate peak-performing public servants for this year’s Service to America medals.

Nominations are being accepted through midnight Friday for the awards, known as the Sammies, which are sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service. The medals are presented in eight categories, including Call to Service, Career Achievement, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement, and Science and Environment. The awards also honor a Federal Employee of the Year. All career civilian federal employees are eligible.

Winners are chosen based on the impact of their work on meeting the needs of the nation, on-the-job innovation, and commitment to public service. Finalists will be recognized at a Capitol Hill event during Public Service Recognition Week in the spring, and winners will be honored at a gala event in the fall. Last year’s event went on even in the face of the government shutdown.  

Click here for more information and to submit a nomination

(Image via rangizzz/Shutterstock.com)

Oscar Loves Uncle Sam

Federal employees are all over film. Often, they pop up as military service members in critically-acclaimed movies like Patton, The Hurt Locker or Saving Private Ryan. Federal law enforcement is omnipresent. Most movies on organized crime feature a an Elliott Ness type, and those films focused on the narcotics trade, like Traffic or Scarface, almost always involve the Drug Enforcement Administration. Government contracting has even made a cameo within the narrative of some big-budget features, like in the thinly-veiled critique of United States defense contracting policy in 2009’s Avatar.

Last year’s Oscar races were packed with federal employee stories. Argo, the story of a foreign service officer, walked away with best picture honors, while the narrative of federal workers and military service members -- including SEAL Team Six --  tasked with finding and killing Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty garnered five nominations. Directors Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were effusive in their praise of feds, and Bigelow even was under some fire for the access she received in preparing Zero Dark Thirty. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, the biographical film about the 16th president, looked at federal authority over states during the Civil War and received the most nominations ...

Consumer Financial Protection Chief Sits Down With Jon Stewart

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stopped by The Daily Show on Wednesday to discuss his agency.

"Our job is to see that people are treated fairly in the market place and it's an important job, I think." Cordray said.

The interview ranged from new rules implemented following the financial crisis, as well as punitive measures for those who break them. 

"It's pretty back-to-basic stuff," he said. "That there should not be debt traps peddled to the American people."

See the entire interview here: