The Washington Post

Bill signing locks in sequester, freezes federal pay rates


A few items that caught our attention today:

(Brendan Smialowski/Getty) (Brendan Smialowski/Getty)

Obama signs legislation locking in sequester cuts for fiscal year.  The president approved a short-term spending plan that funds the government through September and prevents a shutdown in the meantime. But the legislation locks in the automatic spending cuts that took effect on March 1 and denies a  scheduled 0.5 percent pay raise for federal workers. The Federal Eye explained how that works in a previous blog item.

President appoints first female Secret Service chief. Julia Pierson, who began her career as an agent 30 years ago, has been tapped to become the first female director in the agency’s 148-year history, according to a Washington Post article.

What does DOMA mean to feds? Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson appeared on ABC affiliate WJLA’s Capital Insider program to talk about how the Defense of Marriage Act affects the federal workforce, as well as other issues.

Same-sex military couples draw attention to unequal treatment. When gay and lesbian soldiers die, their widows are denied survivor benefits, they don’t hear from the casualty officers who visit the next of kin, and they don’t receive the flags that drape the caskets of their loved ones. For those and a host of other reasons, gay marriage advocates say the Defense of Marriage Act dishonors gay service members and their spouses, according to an article from the Associated Press.

The four worst ways the sequester will hit science funding. The GeekoSystem blog offers its take on the matter, focusing primarily on how the automatic budget reductions will affect the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

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

The Freddie Gray case

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The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
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Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the issues with drinking water in Flint, Mich. But Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
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South Carolina polling averages
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Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
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