A few items that caught our attention Thursday:

Ryan and Murray nearing partial budget deal: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are close to finalizing a plan would reduce the deficit and provide federal agencies with some relief from the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration without raising taxes or touching entitlements, according to a Federal Times report. Additional details about the plan’s goal to raise revenue without raising taxes are available in a Wonkblog article.

Chuck Hagel to reduce Pentagon staff by 20 percent: The defense secretary laid out plans Wednesday to trim Pentagon staff in hopes of saving at least $1 billion over the next five years. The changes will involve axing some civilian and contract workers, reorganizing the oversight responsibilities of some senior Pentagon officials and implementing major overhaul of the department’s policy directorate, according to a Federal Times report.

Family files lawsuit connected to Navy Yard shooting: The family of a woman killed in September’s shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard filed the first lawsuit related to the incident, alleging that government officials and defense contractors ignored warning signs about the killer’s mental health, according to an Associated Press article.

Budget battle features debate over federal-employee retirement: Republicans want federal workers to pay more toward their retirement plans, a concept President Obama supported in his 2014 budget proposal. But Democrats say those employees have sacrificed enough for the sake of deficit reduction, according to the latest Federal Diary column.

Obama orders agencies to increase percentage of “green energy” usage:  President Obama directed federal agencies Thursday to use renewable sources for 20 percent of their electricity needs by 2020, roughly tripling the current amount. The plan is part of a second-term push to combat climate change and prepare for its effects, according to an Associated Press report.

FBI agents say criminals may have it easier if the sequester continues:  The FBI Agents Association said potential furloughs, an ongoing hiring freeze and a suspension of training associated with government-wide budget cuts known as the sequester would leave the FBI less capable of combating terrorist attacks and other criminal activities, according to a Government Executive article.

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