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Committee OKs bill requiring agencies to reduce emissions

June 13, 2007 The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved legislation Tuesday that would require federal agencies to make their buildings more environmentally friendly by substantially cutting carbon emissions. "The federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the United States, but there is currently no requirement for the federal government...

Panel backs customer service standards for agencies

June 13, 2007 Legislation that would prod government agencies to be more consumer-driven with an annual review was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Tuesday. The measure (H.R. 404), approved on a voice vote, would establish a report card system to gauge customer service performance at each agency. Federal agency...

Watchdog group seeks probe of Education Department use of e-mail

May 17, 2007 An independent watchdog group asserted Wednesday that employees at the Education Department may have used personal e-mail accounts often for official business and called for a formal investigation of the practice. The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked the department's inspector general to look into whether employees have...

Mine safety agency under fire for slow compliance with 2006 law

May 16, 2007 Coal mines have not caught up with safety standards enacted by Congress last year, a panel of witnesses told the House Education and Labor Committee Wednesday. House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., who criticized last year's Republican legislation for not going far enough, criticized Assistant Labor Secretary Richard...

Education secretary defends oversight of student loan programs

May 10, 2007 Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced Thursday that she is convening the heads of the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve "to coordinate a governmentwide endeavor to end student loan abuse" in both the Federal Family Education Loan and private loan programs. She...

Enforcement agency expands Hatch Act probe

April 25, 2007 The independent Office of Special Counsel has expanded an investigation into possible Hatch Act violations at the General Services Administration to include officials across the entire executive branch in an effort to determine if partisan political activity may have occurred illegally in federal offices, an OSC spokesman said Tuesday. The...

GAO's bid for more money puts focus on staffing needs

April 19, 2007 Government Accountability Office officials urged House appropriators on Thursday to approve their fiscal 2008 budget request for $530 million --an 8 percent hike from last year --saying the agency is strained at its current staffing level and faces serious challenges in conducting thorough oversight of government programs and agencies. "Our...

Postal Service does not foresee layoffs despite pressures

April 17, 2007 The head of the U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday high labor expenses and a decline in the circulation of more profitable classes of mail pose new challenges for the organization, which is undergoing a major overhaul of business operations. Still, Postmaster General John Potter assured the House Oversight and Government...

Political e-mails trigger surge in Hatch Act complaints

April 11, 2007 A U.S. enforcement agency has seen a surge in the number of complaints about federal employees sending politically oriented e-mails, a trend officials say could lead to a record number of Hatch Act violations this year. "As people become more comfortable with e-mail use, we see a spike in Hatch...

Dems support expansion of GAO, but question affordability

April 10, 2007 Congressional Democrats who consider aggressive oversight critical to greater government accountability are eager to expand the Government Accountability Office's size and mission, but there might not be enough money to give the watchdog agency a big boost in its next appropriation. The GAO "makes sure the government spends its money...