Obama administration takes on nuns over birth-control mandate

A few items that caught our attention on Friday:

(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
(Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

Administration says nuns don’t need injunction against health law provision: The Obama administration argued against Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s decision to temporarily block the new health-care law’s birth control mandate for religious employers such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, saying in a response on Friday that such groups can easily exempt themselves from the requirement, according to a Washington Post report.

Obama proposes changes for firearm background checks: The Obama administration on Friday announced a pair of executive actions that would require stricter federal background checks for gun purchases, with an emphasis on limiting firearm access for individuals with mental-health issues, according to an Associated Press report

Chief Justice says sequester hurting judiciary: U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. predicted that continued sequester cuts could lead to a Dickensian future for the federal justice system, literally referencing “A Christmas Carol” in his year-end report, which said the federal judiciary is hit harder by the automatic reductions than other parts of the government. Reporter Bob Barnes summarizes in a Washington Post report.

Workplace inequality persists for female feds, report says:  A recent report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said women still struggle more than men to reach upper-level and management jobs in the federal government, in addition to suffering from inflexible workplace polices and facing unconscious gender bias, according to a Federal Times article.

EPA takes action to regulate new wood stoves: The Environmental Protection Agency moved Friday to curb harmful emissions from residential wood stoves and other similar appliances with new rules that would require the devices to burn 80 percent more cleanly than current models. The rules would go into effect in 2015 and become stricter after five years, according to a Washington Post report.

TSP ends year with gains: The federal-employee retirement program known as the Thrift Savings Plan finished 2013 with positive numbers almost across-the-board, although the F Fund, which tracks with the performance of the U.S. bond market, ended in the red, according to a Federal News Radio article

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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