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IG will investigate whether department misused funds

December 15, 2009 The Education Department's inspector general will investigate whether the administration misused federal money when officials pushed colleges and universities to change how they make student loans, according to a letter sent to lawmakers on Monday. House Education and Labor ranking member John Kline, R-Minn., asked for the review after Education ...

Administration says public option still possible

August 18, 2009 The Obama administration on Tuesday insisted that including a public option in a health reform overhaul was still a possibility. "Here's the bottom line: Absolutely nothing has changed. We continue to support the public option that will help lower costs, give American consumers more choice and keep private insurers honest," ...

Panel lightly trims Labor-HHS spending bill

July 10, 2009 The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Friday approved a $160.7 billion fiscal 2010 spending bill at a price tag $52 million lower than President Obama requested. "I indicated that we faced some very hard choices this year," House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., said. "These adjustments are important for setting ...

FDA chief: More money is needed for inspections

June 3, 2009 The money included in a proposed food safety overhaul will not cover the cost of the new inspections required by the bill, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told lawmakers on Wednesday. "The amount of resources required to achieve these inspection goals would far exceed even the historic increases in the president's ...

Obama spending plan for union monitoring office drawing fire

May 8, 2009 President Obama's budget proposal to reduce funding for the Labor Department office responsible for overseeing labor unions is sparking an outcry from business leaders and Republicans. Obama asked for $41 million for the Office of Labor-Management Standards, a 9 percent drop from last year's $45 million. Unions have to send ...

Homeland secretary sees no reason to close border with Mexico

April 29, 2009 Closing the U.S. border with Mexico would not help prevent the spread of swine flu, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano told lawmakers on Wednesday. "Making such a closure right now has not been merited by the facts," Napolitano said at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing. "I don't ...

Labor groups seeking tighter limits on H-1B visas

April 16, 2009 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Unions will propose putting new limits on the H-1B visa program for highly skilled foreign workers as part of comprehensive immigration reform, according to a policy proposal released today. The H-1B system "is all done at the behest of employers to take advantage of a broken system," said Paul Almeida, ...

IG report finds holes in food-tracing system

March 26, 2009 The government is ill-equipped to deal with a bioterrorism attack or an outbreak of food-borne illness because the system used to trace food products is ineffective, according to a government report released Thursday. The Health and Human Services Department inspector general's office purchased 40 different food products from retail shelves, ...

Solis is first Cabinet nominee to face cloture vote

February 20, 2009 Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., will be the first of President Obama's Cabinet nominees to need 60 senators to back her when the Senate votes to move to her nomination on Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., scheduled the cloture vote last week after Republicans could not agree on timing, ...

Senate confirms former lobbyist as Defense deputy

February 12, 2009 The Senate on Wednesday confirmed William Lynn, a Raytheon executive and former company lobbyist, to be deputy Defense secretary by a 93-4 vote. At the same time, two Senate panels approved the nominations of Leon Panetta to head the CIA and Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., as Labor secretary, sending both ...