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New bill would eliminate disruptions in military ‘death benefits’

A few items that caught our attention on Wednesday:

A military honor guard folds the the American Flag a top the casket of a deceases U.S. Army soldier. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images). A military honor guard folds the the American Flag a top the casket of a deceases U.S. Army soldier. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Bill would prevent delay in military “death benefits” under repeat shutdown: Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) are moving to provide permanent funding for military death benefits as the government faces the prospect of more budgeting gridlock and another shutdown in mid-January, according to a Navy Times article.

Five VA officials left agency after conference controversy: A congressional report says several Department of Veterans Affairs officials connected with costly 2011 conferences have resigned or retired since the agency’s inspector general faulted their roles in planning, managing and overseeing the events, according to a Federal Times article.

House working on bills affecting federal agencies and workforce: Lawmakers are moving on from the recent government shutdown in part by working on several bills that directly impact the federal workforce, including a measure that supports ending the federal pay freeze and a bill that addresses the claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a Federal News Radio article.

Federal CIO says problems offer “teachable moment”: In his first public comments since the troubled rollout of the online health-insurance exchange, Steven VanRoekel said at an executive-leadership conference that the government can learn and evolve from the glitches, according to a Federal News Radio article

Administration promising online exchange will work by December: November is shaping up as a major test for the rollout of, with administration officials promising the kinks will be worked out by the end of next month, according to a Politico article.

Romneycare enrollment was slow as well: With enrollment in Obamacare’s online health-insurance exchanges growing slowly, White House officials are highlighting similar trends with the Massachusetts law that served as a model for the national program. Just 123 people signed up during the Bay State’s first month of open enrollment, but the number rose to 36,000 by the end of the first year, according to a Wonkblog article.

The “ugly history” of federal computer problems:  Post writer Joe Davidson noted that computer glitches such as those plaguing are nothing new to the federal government. He reviewed a list of previous issues in his latest Federal Diary column.

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 with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



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