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It Ain’t Child’s Play

March 1, 2008 Assessing program performance is harder than one might think. It's been 15 years since Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act, a law whose sponsors hoped would help establish a government guided by goals and measured by results. Sen. William Roth, R-Del., said on the Senate floor in 1993: ...

The Tides of Time

February 20, 2008 Another year, another steady retirement rate. Since the beginning of the decade, federal human resources watchers have been predicting a tsunami of baby boomer retirements that would empty government offices, leaving a handful of ill-prepared Generation Xers to handle all of Uncle Sam's work. How many times have we been ...

Congress, administration gear up for final budget battle

February 8, 2008 The last time an outgoing president and an opposition Congress squared off for their final budget battle, the opening salvos looked a lot like the first shots fired this year. "It's dead on arrival," House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich, R-Ohio, said of President Clinton's final budget proposal in February ...

Say What?

February 6, 2008 Federal agencies have gotten better over the years at communicating clearly with the public. A quiet movement has bubbled along in pockets throughout the government for more than a decade, with advocates of plain language slowly making headway in convincing their bosses that it's more important to help people understand ...

Outside Job

February 1, 2008 Cut the bureaucratic blah-de-blah. Federal agencies have gotten better over the years at communicating clearly with the public. A quiet movement has bubbled along in pockets throughout the government for more than a decade, with advocates of plain language slowly making headway in convincing their bosses that it's more important ...

Stimulating Bipartisanship

January 29, 2008 Last year, liberals and conservatives in Congress saw no value in meeting in the middle to pass bipartisan legislation on the biggest topics of 2007: Iraq and immigration. But this year, they are scrambling to the center to pass a $150 billion stimulus package to boost the flagging economy. Why? ...

Get Comfy in Coach

January 23, 2008 Most private sector executives would be aghast at the notion of sitting with the air travelers in coach. It is assumed -- it is the cultural norm for many corporations -- that the leaders sit in business class. That's why they call it business class. Many federal executives, especially political ...

Democrats likely to step up oversight efforts

January 22, 2008 The echo of the gavel from Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the venue for Energy and Commerce Committee hearings, has reverberated as far away as Hong Kong. In early January, the head of America's toy-industry group traveled 8,000 miles from Washington to explain to Chinese manufacturers that ...

Outside the Beltway

January 9, 2008 Many of the problems that the federal bureaucracy has created or found itself embroiled in could have been avoided or fixed had key agencies collaborated in advance. The State Department's woes surrounding its contract with Blackwater Worldwide for security in Iraq at least could have been lessened if its ceaseless ...

Senate in no hurry to confirm Bush nominees

January 8, 2008 Kristine Svinicki, President Bush's nominee for a Republican slot on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is a well-respected aide on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She has worked on energy, environmental, and national security issues for more than 20 years. At her confirmation hearing in July, she won praise from Democrats ...