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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.

House leads push to strengthen small business contracting

Procurement legislation passes as Senate Small Business Committee leaders work on their own measure.

IG says he cannot afford to open probes in Iraq

Top State Department auditor is defending himself against accusations that he hindered investigations that could have been embarrassing for the Bush administration.

Steady Gains

Hillary Clinton has made small but consistent improvements in her general election poll standings.

Defense remains concerned C-5 aircraft costs may still rise

Contractor has offered to deliver final 108 aircraft for a fixed price, but Air Force officials remain concerned about unanticipated costs the proposal would not cover.