House panel shows bipartisan support for federal workplace bills

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Committee approves bills on seasonal workers, porn, equal employment and tax delinquents.

    The Federal Eye

    How to trim deficits: Cut federal employee retirement and health care

    A GOP plan would lower rates of return and increase the employee’s share of health costs.

      Does the U.S. Postal Service have an unfair competitive advantage?

      An economic analysis found that USPS enjoys about $18 billion in special privileges and tax breaks from governments at the federal, state and local levels.

        Here’s how Virginia’s governor defends his Homeland Security lobbying: Just ‘raising heck’

        Gov. Terry McAuliffe downplayed suggestions that he received special treatment, saying he was merely “raising heck” with a slow-moving Department of Homeland Security.

          Panel okays route to permanent federal jobs for firefighter temps

          House panel approves bill that allows seasonal federal workers to compete for full-time jobs.

            Parents’ lawsuit says Quorn mold-based food product killed their 11-year-old son

            Quorn Foods rejects the claim, saying the boy died of asthma.

              The Federal Diary

              House panel shows bipartisan support for federal workplace bills

              WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 19:  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) (R) and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) arrive for a hearing about the Department of Homeland Security's policies regarding apprehension, detention and release of illegal immigrants in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill March 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana faced aggressive questioning about her agencies policy of discretion in releasing people convicted of misdemeanors and felonies.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

              Committee approves bills on seasonal workers, porn, equal employment and tax delinquents.

              House GOP budget plan hits feds in their pocketbooks

              Representative Thomas 'Tom' Price, a Republican from Georgia and chairman of the House Budget Committee, holds up a copy of the House Republicans' Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal titled 'A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America' during a news conference with other members of the budget committee in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. U.S. House Republicans propose to balance the federal budget in less than 10 years by cutting spending by $5.5 trillion without raising taxes, the chamber's budget committee chairman said Tuesday in an opinion article. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Tom Price

              House budget resolution would have federal employees pay more for the same retirement benefits.

              Obama talks about trust to workers during visit to VA wait list scandal site

              U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks after a meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald (L) and others at the Phoenix VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona March 13, 2015. Obama announced the formation of a new advisory group made up of public officials and leaders from the private sector to advise on improvements to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs during an event at the Phoenix VA facility, where long waits for medical care sparked a political crisis for the administration. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY HEALTH)

              At the Phoenix VA, Obama praises staff and says there will be more training for managers.

              In the Loop

              Why your dreams of a cushy ambassadorship can still come true

              Billionaires’ big bucks for super PACs won’t freeze lesser campaign bundlers out of great jobs.

              Loretta Lynch to lead pack — going three White Houses back — of waiters

              Loretta Lynch, Brooklyn prosecutor and nominee to replace U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. Lynch said that if confirmed as the next U.S. attorney general she would focus on battling cybercrime and improving relations between police and the communities they serve. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Loretta Lynch

              President Obama’s nominee for attorney general will set the mark for waiting after Senate’s spring break.

              What else does Rep. Aaron Schock have in common with Lincoln?

              FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2015, file photo, Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill. speaks to reporters in Peoria Ill. According to a source, the Justice Department is investigating possible criminal violations by resigning Illinois congressman. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

              Did Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) know everything he had in common with Lincoln?

              Fine Print

              How Congress is doing an end run around sequestration

              WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18:  U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter testifies during a House Armed Services Committee  hearing on 'The President's Proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against ISIL and the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the Department of Defense,' on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. President Obama has requested authorization for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria against ISIS from Congress. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

              By stuffing a contingency account, lawmakers can have both defense cuts and more defense spending.

              Critics jumping the gun on talks with Iran over nuclear agreement

              U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, listens to Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, before resuming talks over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, March 16, 2015. The United States and Iran are plunging back into negotiations in a bid to end a decades-long standoff that has raised the specter of an Iranian nuclear arsenal, a new atomic arms race in the Middle East and even a U.S. or Israeli military intervention. (AP Photo/Brian Snyder, Pool)

              McConnell, Cotton and others don’t believe there’s any need to give the effort a chance.

              Another nation blazed the trail for Iran in developing a nuclear program

              Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves as he speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015. In a speech that stirred political intrigue in two countries, Netanyahu told Congress that negotiations underway between Iran and the U.S. would 'all but guarantee' that Tehran will get nuclear weapons, a step that the world must avoid at all costs. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, are behind the prime minister. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

              Israel’s clandestine building of nuclear weapons facilities in the Negev desert began 60 years ago.

              The High Court

              Supreme Court to hear battle over Confederate license plates

              This image provided by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles shows the design of a proposed Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate. The Supreme Court on March 23, 2015, will weigh a free-speech challenge to Texas’ decision to refuse to issue a license plate bearing the Confederate battle flag. Specialty plates are big business in Texas, where drivers spent $17.6 million last year to choose from among more than 350 messages the state allows on the plates. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Motor Vehicles)

              Do specialty license plates reflect the free speech rights of states or individuals?

              Justices framing the question on gay marriage

              WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: A view of the Supreme Court, January 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. On Friday, the Supreme Court is meeting in closed conference to decide whether it will take up cases on the issues of same sex-marriage and marriage recognition from several states. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

              On Friday, they agreed to hear arguments and set the table for what some see as a narrowed focus.

              Judge candidates’ free-speech rights at issue before court

              The U.S. flag flies in front of the Supreme Court building at sunset in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Workers don't have a federal right to be paid for time spent in post-shift security searches, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a decision that will help Amazon Inc. fend off lawsuits seeking more than $100 million. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

              HIGH COURT | Justices will consider whether Florida’s ban on directly soliciting contributions holds water.

              High Court: A question of religious freedom

              HANDOUT PHOTO: Gregory Houston Holt, an Arkansas prison inmate, also known as Abdul Maalik Muhammad. According to his brief to the Supreme Court, he feels his Muslim faith requires him to follow this dictate: “Allah’s Messenger said, ‘Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard (as it is).’ “ (Courtesy of Arkansas Department of Corrections)

              Prisoner presses for right to grow a beard for his faith, but Arkansas officials raise security issues.

              High Court: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and guns

              WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 8: Justice Anthony Kennedy pictured as the nine members of the Supreme Court pose for a new group photograph to reflect their newest member, Elena Kagan, October, 08, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

              Some see him as the middleman on the gun debate; neither side knows where he’s going to fall on the issue.

              The Federal Coach

              What makes good government leaders

              Being in a position of authority doesn’t mean you’re a leader.

              Using social media for your federal agency

              Snapchat isn't just for teens sharing texts anymore. News organizations are now turning to the app in hopes that it can become the next Twitter or Facebook. Photo by Linda D. Epstein for The Washington Post

              Some departments have harnessed these tools to improve their work with the public, while others are still struggling to figure them out.

              Working for equal opportunity

              Jenny Yang, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chair, talks about what motivates her.

              Federal Player of the Week

              Elizabeth Southerland: Providing the science to keep the nation’s water safe for drinking, swimming and fishing

              Southerland’s office at the EPA produces the research that the agency uses to set water-pollution limits.

              Latest Federal News

              How to trim deficits: Cut federal employee retirement and health care

              How to trim deficits: Cut federal employee retirement and health care

              A GOP plan would lower rates of return and increase the employee’s share of health costs.

              What makes good government leaders

              What makes good government leaders

              Being in a position of authority doesn’t mean you’re a leader.

              Why your dreams of a cushy ambassadorship can still come true

              Why your dreams of a cushy ambassadorship can still come true

              Billionaires’ big bucks for super PACs won’t freeze lesser campaign bundlers out of great jobs.

              Chief Justice Roberts to visit Japan after term ends

              Chief Justice Roberts to visit Japan after term ends

              This summer, Roberts will visit Japan at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart.

              Does the U.S. Postal Service have an unfair competitive advantage?

              Does the U.S. Postal Service have an unfair competitive advantage?

              An economic analysis found that USPS enjoys about $18 billion in special privileges and tax breaks from governments at the federal, state and local levels.

              Column

              Loretta Lynch to lead pack — going three White Houses back — of waiters

              Loretta Lynch to lead pack — going three White Houses back — of waiters

              President Obama’s nominee for attorney general will set the mark for waiting after Senate’s spring break.

              What else does Rep. Aaron Schock have in common with Lincoln?

              What else does Rep. Aaron Schock have in common with Lincoln?

              Did Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) know everything he had in common with Lincoln?

              Here’s how Virginia’s governor defends his Homeland Security lobbying: Just ‘raising heck’

              Here’s how Virginia’s governor defends his Homeland Security lobbying: Just ‘raising heck’

              Gov. Terry McAuliffe downplayed suggestions that he received special treatment, saying he was merely “raising heck” with a slow-moving Department of Homeland Security.

              The best congressional acronym ever -- well, at least of this week

              The best congressional acronym ever -- well, at least of this week

              Coming up with catchy titles for legislation is something congressional staffers love to do.

              Panel okays route to permanent federal jobs for firefighter temps

              Panel okays route to permanent federal jobs for firefighter temps

              House panel approves bill that allows seasonal federal workers to compete for full-time jobs.

              Who guessed that Ted Cruz would be the first to officially announce?

              Who guessed that Ted Cruz would be the first to officially announce?

              And now, the winners in the In the Loop contest to pick the first major presidential candidate to officially announce.

              Elizabeth Southerland: Providing the science to keep the nation’s water safe for drinking, swimming and fishing

              Elizabeth Southerland: Providing the science to keep the nation’s water safe for drinking, swimming and fishing

              Southerland’s office at the EPA produces the research that the agency uses to set water-pollution limits.

              Justices revive case claiming UPS discriminated against pregnant worker

              Justices revive case claiming UPS discriminated against pregnant worker

              Former UPS employee Peggy Young will be allowed to take her case back to lower courts.

              Column

              The writer of Devo’s ‘Whip It’ has a message for the GOP’s House whip

              The writer of Devo’s ‘Whip It’ has a message for the GOP’s House whip

              Gerald Casale of the 1980s new-wave band would like Steve Scalise to stop using his song to raise money.

              Justices appear split on EPA plan for cutting toxic energy-plant emissions

              Justices appear split on EPA plan for cutting toxic energy-plant emissions

              At issue is whether the agency should have considered the financial cost of effecting changes it felt were needed.

              Treasury Department admits dead Cubans can’t actually hurt us

              Treasury Department admits dead Cubans can’t actually hurt us

              The Treasury Department has lifted its ban on business with dozens of non-existent Cuban companies and people.

              Supreme Court hands win to opponents of Alabama redistricting plan

              Supreme Court hands win to opponents of Alabama redistricting plan

              Challengers said the map improperly packed minority voters into districts in an effort to dilute their influence.

              How the federal travel crackdown hits scientists especially hard

              How the federal travel crackdown hits scientists especially hard

              Some scientific agencies reported to the White House that they have hired six full-time employees to process travel and conference requests

              Column

              A fight at the museum: When fossil fuels fuel fossils

              A fight at the museum: When fossil fuels fuel fossils

              An open letter from scientists calls on curators of natural history to reject money from the Koch brothers.

              VA to change 40-mile rule for Veterans Choice program

              VA to change 40-mile rule for Veterans Choice program

              The original rule said veterans had to live at least 40 miles in a straight shot from the nearest VA clinic to qualify Veterans Choice. Now the agency will measure the distance in driving miles instead.

              Former Obama ambassadors against a full Afghan troop withdrawal in 2016

              Former Obama ambassadors against a full Afghan troop withdrawal in 2016

              Former top diplomats sent an open letter to President Obama to delay a planned drawdown of troops from Afghanistan. Obama agreed to Afghan leaders’ request for more time.

              Hillary recalls when the press cared about policy? When was that?

              Hillary Clinton jokes at a media event, rhapsodizes about when reporters focused on substance.

              G Fund’s return would drop to nearly zero under House plan

              G Fund’s return would drop to nearly zero under House plan

              The most popular fund in the Thrift Savings Plan could become “virtually worthless” as an investment option under a proposal in the House budget, a spokeswoman says.

              Veterans unemployment rate drops to lowest point since 2008

              Veterans unemployment rate drops to lowest point since 2008

              Veterans unemployment dropped again last year as federal hiring of former troops hit a high. But younger veterans are still struggling with joblessness.

              Supreme Court lets Wisconsin’s voter-ID law stand

              Supreme Court lets Wisconsin’s voter-ID law stand

              The decision not to review a lower-court ruling was a victory for Gov. Walker and perhaps for other states.

              Censorship vs. free speech on specialized license plates in Texas

              Censorship vs. free speech on specialized license plates in Texas

              Supreme Court justices struggle to find a balance in a case involving the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

              Column

              A chilly wind from the great white north

              A chilly wind from the great white north

              The Keystone XL pipeline has made things tense between the U.S. and Canada.

              NFL taps departing ATF director to handle disciplinary rulings

              NFL taps departing ATF director to handle disciplinary rulings

              ATF Director B. Todd Jones, who recently announced plans to leave the government at the end of the month, will be a top disciplinary official for the NFL.

              How Congress is doing an end run around sequestration

              How Congress is doing an end run around sequestration

              By stuffing a contingency account, lawmakers can have both defense cuts and more defense spending.

              House oversight leaders ‘disappointed’ Secret Service chief plans to testify alone

              House oversight leaders ‘disappointed’ Secret Service chief plans to testify alone

              The heads of the House oversight committee asked four other Secret Service officials to appear, but the director plans to testify alone.