The new VA-reform deal, and how the costs shrank over time

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) have reached a deal to help the VA address issues related to the agency’s recent scheduling scandal.

The Federal Eye

Watchdog: DOD workers with security clearances owe $730 million in taxes

The GAO said about 31 percent of the tax-delinquent workers already owed money to the government when they were issued security clearances.

Survey: Does your federal job now require security clearance?

The Washington Post is seeking input from federal workers and contractors whose jobs now require security clearance.

Here’s what the IRS told a federal court about Lois Lerner’s hard drive

IRS officials filed court statements about the agency’s efforts to recover Lerner’s files. Find out what they said.

IRS chief says agency no longer probing missing e-mails

John Koskinen offered little new information about the matter, saying he doesn’t want to interfere with an inspector general’s investigation.

Senate panel approves VA secretary nominee

The unanimous voice vote came one day after Robert McDonald told the committee, “I desperately want this job, because I think I can make a difference.”

Survey

Are veterans changing life at federal agencies?

The Obama administration is hiring record numbers of veterans to federal jobs. We want to hear from federal workers with and without military backgrounds about life in this new culture.

The Federal Diary

Readers speak out about IRS, VA and senior executives

Readers react to previous Federal Diary columns, speaking their minds on IRS,VA and senior executives.

House takes punitive action against all IRS executives

The House wants to spread mass punishment for senior executives from the VA to the IRS.

Critics: VA uses patient privacy to go after whistleblowers

The Department of Veterans Affairs hospital stands Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. The director of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System said Wednesday that it will soon receive as much as $15 million to address an audit showing long wait times for veterans. Juan Morales told reporters that the money will help pay for additional physician-support staff and fees that may be incurred if a veteran has to be sent to an outside provider. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, George Walker IV)

Managers have allegedly threatened employees or retaliated against those who complain about misconduct.

In the Loop

In the Loop: Obama makes few speeches in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama reads his speech to photographers after delivering a primetime televised address marking the the end of combat mission in Iraq from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

When the president speaks to the nation from the White House, he’s taken to using other backdrops.

Cruz lifts (toothless) hold on ambassador nominees

Sen. Ted Cruz is no longer holding up ambassadors, but that doesn’t mean they are likely to be confirmed any quicker.

Indian American woman mistaken at hearing as a foreigner had been a staffer on same committee

Nisha Biswal worked for the House Foreign Affairs Committee more than a decade before she returned as a witness.

Fine Print

Fine Print: It’s time to look at military personnel benefits

Tough decisions have to be made to get Defense Department costs under control.

Fine Print: U.S. trying to seal cracks in Iron Dome deal

The Iron Dome defense

Congress wants more participation by U.S. contractors in production of Israeli air defense system

Fine Print: Civil liberties board reviews NSA data mining

FILE - In this June 6, 2013, file photo, shows plaques outside the National Security Ageny (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. When the NSA intercepted the online accounts of legally targeted foreigners over a four-year period it also collected the conversations of nine times as many ordinary Internet users, both Americans and non-Americans, according to an investigation by The Washington Post published on Sunday, July 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Panel fears volume of data risks citizens’ privacy, but found no abuse or disregard of federal law.

The High Court

This term’s key Supreme Court rulings, in the justices’ own words

This photo taken June 30, 2014 shows the Supreme Court in Washington. Conservative Republicans claimed victory this week in the Supreme Court ruling on religious freedom and the White House’s acceptance that an immigration overhaul won’t happen this year. Today’s victories could haunt the GOP in two years’ time, as the party’s presidential nominee looks for much-needed support among women and Hispanics in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The justices’ writings offer fresh insights into the court’s important decisions from this past term.

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.

Bill Clinton papers reveal maneuvering on high court picks

In June 1993, President Bill Clinton introduces Ruth Bader Ginsburg as his choice for associate justice to succeed Justice Byron White.

They illuminate discussions about his choices of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer for the bench.

The Influence Industry

Influence Industry: U.S. Chamber of Commerce looks West

It hopes to woo Silicon Valley, but whether it can is an open question.

Federal Player of the Week

HUD official coordinated Hurricane Sandy recovery aid

Marion Mollegen McFadden, the chief operating officer and later acting executive director of the recovery task force, led an ambitious interagency effort.

The Federal Coach

Leadership books for the beach

Here are some books that will improve your work life, yet are fun enough to read while on vacation.

Leading the Peace Corps

The world has changed a lot since the Peace Corps was founded 53 years ago.

Trying to improve morale in government

“The myth I would try to dispel is that it’s impossible to get things done.“

Prospects

Job possibilities are growing again

In federal government, hiring is picking up; career-seekers must make an effort to keep pace.

Latest Federal News

Decision overturning Va.’s gay marriage ban is upheld

Decision overturning Va.’s gay marriage ban is upheld

A federal appeals court panel in Richmond rules that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed under the Constitution .

Column

In the Loop: Obama makes few speeches in the Oval Office

In the Loop: Obama makes few speeches in the Oval Office

When the president speaks to the nation from the White House, he’s taken to using other backdrops.

Column

Fine Print: It’s time to look at military personnel benefits

Tough decisions have to be made to get Defense Department costs under control.

GAO cites tax debt of DoD workers with security clearances

Employees and contractors owed $730 million in unpaid federal taxes as of June 2012, the report found.

Watchdog: DOD workers with security clearances owe $730 million in taxes

Watchdog: DOD workers with security clearances owe $730 million in taxes

The GAO said about 31 percent of the tax-delinquent workers already owed money to the government when they were issued security clearances.

Obama’s next career could be as a stock analyst

Obama’s next career could be as a stock analyst

The president has been sharply criticized for multiple alleged failures through his presidency, but when it comes to predicting the stock market. . .

Paul Ryan defends plan to overhaul social safety net

Paul Ryan defends plan to overhaul social safety net

Ryan last week proposed consolidating 11 safety-net programs into one block grant for states to distribute how they see fit.

Paul Ryan: Send the unattended immigrant kids back home

Paul Ryan: Send the unattended immigrant kids back home

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday that the crisis at the border would worsen if the U.S. does not deport the children.

Shumer: U.S. should use WTO and World Cup to pressure Putin

Shumer: U.S. should use WTO and World Cup to pressure Putin

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that stronger pressure is needed to change Russia’s course in the Ukraine crisis.

Official: Stronger U.S.-European sanctions likely against Russia

Official: Stronger U.S.-European sanctions likely against Russia

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Sunday that European leaders are open to stronger sanctions.

Palestinians open to Egypt talks for peace deal, Abbas aide says

Palestinians open to Egypt talks for peace deal, Abbas aide says

The Palestinian Authority president is forming a delegation to meet with Israeli officials in Egypt, an adviser said.

House majority whip: No promise of delaying recess for immigration deal

House majority whip: No promise of delaying recess for immigration deal

The Republican on Sunday sidestepped questions about whether House Republicans would be willing to postpone Congress’s August recess.

Obama gives a lot of speeches, but not from the Oval Office

Obama gives a lot of speeches, but not from the Oval Office

President Obama prefers campaign-style speeches to the gravitas of an Oval Office address.

Survey: Does your federal job now require security clearance?

The Washington Post is seeking input from federal workers and contractors whose jobs now require security clearance.

Column

In the Loop: Saxby Chambliss is retiring in style

In the Loop: Saxby Chambliss is retiring in style

The senator may be a lame duck, but he can still fly to Europe.

Who knew Afghans don’t like soybeans?

Who knew Afghans don’t like soybeans?

The inspector general hits the Agriculture Department over a $34.4 million program to grow and process soybeans in Afghanistan

Here’s what the IRS told a federal court about Lois Lerner’s hard drive

Here’s what the IRS told a federal court about Lois Lerner’s hard drive

IRS officials filed court statements about the agency’s efforts to recover Lerner’s files. Find out what they said.

Column

In the Loop: Rubio isn’t saying Clinton’s old, but ...

In the Loop: Rubio isn’t saying Clinton’s old, but ...

The senator, clearly looking toward a potential 2016 matchup, piles on the 1990s references.

Irony alert: Putin daughter said to live in Netherlands

Irony alert: Putin daughter said to live in Netherlands

A Dutch mayor called Wednesday for Russian President Putin’s daughter to be deported from the Netherlands.

IRS chief says agency no longer probing missing e-mails

IRS chief says agency no longer probing missing e-mails

John Koskinen offered little new information about the matter, saying he doesn’t want to interfere with an inspector general’s investigation.

Senate panel approves VA secretary nominee

Senate panel approves VA secretary nominee

The unanimous voice vote came one day after Robert McDonald told the committee, “I desperately want this job, because I think I can make a difference.”

Lawmakers question $190 million contract for firm accused of fraud

Lawmakers question $190 million contract for firm accused of fraud

The contract went to a firm that the Justice Department has accused of fraud in an alleged scheme to rush through background checks and increase revenue.

D.C. area’s new distinction: Most late mail deliveries

D.C. area’s new distinction: Most late mail deliveries

More than two-thirds of the time, carriers are still working after 5. And those in N.Va. have problems, too.

Column

It takes an act of Congress to work in August

There’s a law against the legislative body to be working in August — really.

New plan in works for contraceptive coverage

New plan in works for contraceptive coverage

The Obama administration will address a Supreme Court ruling on employers’ religious objections.

Is your mail coming late? Service cuts are to blame.

Is your mail coming late? Service cuts are to blame.

Almost two-thirds of D.C.-area letter carriers are delivering the mail after 5 p.m., audit finds.

Congress on working in August: It’s against the law!

Congress on working in August: It’s against the law!

Voters may get upset when Congress shuts down in August without passing important legislation, but there’s a law against it.

IRS seeks contractor to destroy hard drives -- properly

IRS seeks contractor to destroy hard drives -- properly

Lawmakers have questioned the IRS’s handling of old storage devices since the agency reported that it destroyed the hard drive of Lois Lerner.

HUD official coordinated Hurricane Sandy recovery aid

HUD official coordinated Hurricane Sandy recovery aid

Marion Mollegen McFadden, the chief operating officer and later acting executive director of the recovery task force, led an ambitious interagency effort.

Column

In the Loop: What happened to the deficit talk?

In the Loop: What happened to the deficit talk?

It was such a big issue, but now all the chatter and media coverage appear to have disappeared.