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Absent Defense bill, negotiators advance $715 billion spending package

Defense appropriations measure could move separately next week; a dilemma remains over how to handle additional war-related spending.

Panel sets course for Army contracting overhaul

Service needs thousands more procurement personnel working on better-defined career paths, independent commission says.

Procurement officials were well-prepared to award wildfire contracts

Prepositioned contracts for ready-to-eat meals and water helped avoid another Katrina, officials say.

Immigration checks for contract jobs spur debate

Contractors say automated system for confirming the legal status of workers is error-prone.

Acting USDA chief to return to deputy spot

Chuck Conner says he will work with Bush’s nominee to head the department; some are surprised Conner did not get the nomination himself.

Waxman blasted for handling of State IG probe

Republicans say oversight committee Democrats tend to pressure witnesses and to publicize information before it is vetted sufficiently.

Dems pull Defense bill from 'mini-bus' spending package

Republicans are pushing for the separation of the two measures remaining in the package – the military construction-VA bill and the Labor-HHS bill.

Old tools hamper drug inspections, observers say

A relatively small investment in IT could make oversight far more effective, former agency official tells lawmakers.

Trade group calls for reforms to appointments process

Aerospace execs say the long process and pay disparities shut out strong candidates.

Bush nominates former North Dakota governor as Agriculture secretary

Edward Schafer will replace Mike Johanns, who resigned last month to launch a Senate bid.