The page you are reading is the first edition of a new Washington Post feature: The Federal Report.

Monday through Friday on the page just ahead of the editorial page, The Federal Report will give readers a more complete picture of the diverse and important actions of the federal government -- the decisions that influence millions of lives and involve billions of dollars.

Traditionally, television networks and newspapers, including this one, have focused their Washington coverage on the "White House, Congress and the Supreme Court, missing much of the vast amount of activity that goes on in the federal bureaucracy. Our goal for The Federal Report is to bring our readers much closer to the real daily work of the government: the issues, decision-making processes and people in scores of agencies and departments. This new coverage should be valuable to those who work on public policy, both inside and outside the government.

We hope to combine breadth with depth -- broad coverags of our huge beat with in-depth reporting that explains what the government is up to and how it works. To do that, we plan to give you:

A main news story or feature each day, like today's on how the controversial Davis-Bacon Act is being changed by regulation instead of legislation.

A wrap-up of news from around the government, along with a quick guide to other government stories in that day's Post.

Daily columns surveying the action in various realms. On different days, you'll find "Rulebook," covering some of the 7,000 regulations issued annually; "Cashflow," watching the government raise and spend $700 billion yearly; "Watchdog," covering enforcement of laws and regulations, and "The Federal Triangle," a weekly roundup of policy tips and insights from the agencies and departments. Two popular Post columns, Cass Peterson's "Executive Notes" and Walter Pincus' "Federal Register," will also appear here.

Other features, including reports on the lawyers and lobbyists who make up Washington's "government industry" and a calendar section telling you how and where you can "talk back" to the government on issues important to you.

You can talk back to us, too. We welcome tips, comments and suggestions. Call us at 334-7410.