Archive for July 2012

AUVSI working with lawmakers on new drone guidelines

July 17, 2012 - 02:00 PM
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A trade group for drone aircraft manufacturers and operators released the industry's first code of conduct this month.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International says it works with 7,000 members from more than 60 countries. AUVSI is based in Arlington.

President and CEO Michael Toscano discussed the code of conduct with Capital Insider.

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Defense cuts basis for NGA common ground

July 17, 2012 - 01:30 PM
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The National Governors Association remains divided on several top issues like health care reform, same-sex marriage, and illegal immigration.

But they did find some common ground at their annual meeting this weekend.

Washington Post Election 2012 Blogger Felicia Sonmez discussed take-aways from the Williamsburg event with Capital Insider.

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That was the week that was

July 16, 2012 - 05:30 PM
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Former President Bill Clinton considers Mitt Romney's financial record a matter of legitimate campaign scrutiny because Romney sells himself as a fix-it man on the economy. Clinton told the "Today" show it strikes him as a little odd that Romney only released a full tax filing for 2010.

Republican Strategist Jack Burkman and Democratic Strategist Richard Fowler discussed that and other issues on Capital Insider.

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Sammies Finalist Jacob Taylor, Ph.D.

July 16, 2012 - 05:00 PM
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In May, the Partnership for Public Service announced 33 finalists for their Service to America Medals. The "Sammies" honor federal workers who show a commitment to public service and make the agencies they work for stronger.

Dr. Jacob Taylor, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a finalist for the 2012 Call to Service Medal. Taylor discussed his work with Capital Insider.

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MEMRI: Force the only way to oust Assad

July 13, 2012 - 07:45 PM
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Syria's highest-ranking diplomat defected this week. Now, he's dismissing the international peace plan drafted by Kofi Annan.

Nawaf Fares, former Syrian ambassador to Iraq, says President Bashar Assad needs to go and only force will do.

Yigal Carmon, founder and president of the Middle East Media Research Institute, discussed that and other issues on Capital Insider.

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Obama campaign pushes "secretive rich guy" strategy

July 13, 2012 - 07:30 PM
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The Obama election campaign wants voters to think of Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney as a secretive rich guy who keeps money in offshore accounts and refuses to release more of his tax returns.

The politically loaded approach is now a coordinated push as President Obama, Vice President Biden, and a slew of TV ads try to drive that point home.

Abby Phillip, money and politics reporter for Politico, discussed the tactic with Capital Insider.

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CBO supplies new ammo in war over taxes

July 12, 2012 - 05:30 PM
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The Congressional Budget Office found the average federal tax rate, including income, payroll, and other taxes, fell to 17.4 percent in 2009. That's the lowest level since the agency began compiling data in 1979.

Democrats pounced and used that information to counter GOP demands for tax cuts.

Dave Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, discussed the partisan war over taxes on Capital Insider.

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The mortgage crisis, VIP loans, and U.S. lawmakers

July 12, 2012 - 05:00 PM
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Last week, the House Oversight Committee released an explosive report. It details how Countrywide Financial Corporation gave members of Congress, their staffers, and top government officials special treatment -- like lower interest rates and reduced fees.

Ken Donohue, former inspector general of Housing and Urban Development, offered analysis on Capital Insider.

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TCS: Farm Bill heavy on pork

July 11, 2012 - 06:30 PM
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The House Agricultural Committee finds itself between a rock and a hard place. On one side, Republicans clamor for cuts to a program that doubled in costs over the past four years. On the other, Democrats contend cuts to the annual $80 billion food stamp program will result in people going hungry.

The panel is still considering dozens of amendments that affect the sugar and dairy industries.

Taxpayers for Common Sense Vice President Steve Ellis discussed the issue with Capital Insider.

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Morsi's showdown with ruling generals unresolved

July 11, 2012 - 06:00 PM
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Egypt's Islamist president flew to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. It was the start of his first foreign trip and underscored the traditional ties between the regional powerhouses.

Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood left in the middle of a showdown with Egypt's generals over the fate of the country's dissolved parliament.

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (U.S. Army Reserve) discussed the showdown and other issues with Capital Insider.

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Senators seek input from top contractors

July 11, 2012 - 05:30 PM
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Next year, the Pentagon is scheduled to start cutting $500 billion over 10 years. It's all part of a bipartisan deficit reduction law called the sequester.

CQ Roll Call's John Donnelly, senior writer and editor of "Executive Briefing Defense," discussed the issue on Capital Insider.

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NIH Federal C.U. to refinance some student loans

July 11, 2012 - 05:00 PM
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Last week, President Obama signed a bill into law that will keep some student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent for one more year. The measure will save more than seven million students an average of $1,000.

Student loan debt continues to be a hot topic as tuition costs rise and job prospects look grim.

Danielle Douglas, Capital Business writer for the Washington Post, discussed how local credit unions are getting into the act.

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Sammies Finalists Heidi King and James Battles

July 9, 2012 - 05:30 PM
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In May, the Partnership for Public Service, a locally-based non-profit organization, announced 33 finalists for the Service to America Medals.

The "Sammies" honor federal workers who have shown a commitment to public service and who have made the agencies they work for stronger.

Heidi King, director of the Patient Safety Solutions Center at the Department of Defense, and James Battles, a social science analyst at the Department of Health and Human Services, are finalists for the Citizen Services medal.

They discussed their work with Capital Insider.

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That was the week that was

July 9, 2012 - 05:00 PM
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Since the Great Depression, no president seeking re-election has be handicapped by a higher rate of unemployment than President Obama.

The June jobs report was released on Friday and the numbers were not good. The unemployment rate remains stuck at 8.2 percent.

Republican Strategist Jack Burkman and Democratic Strategist Richard Fowler discussed that and other issues on Capital Insider.

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GAO recommends cyber improvements to prevent economic espionage

July 6, 2012 - 01:30 PM
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The Government Accountability Office reports the U.S. Faces a growing number of cyber threats from a variety of sources -- like criminal groups, terrorists, and foreign nationals. For some of them, money equals motive.

The attacks can have serious impacts on businesses and consumers.

GAO Director of Information Security Issues Gregory Wilshusen discussed the threat of economic espionage with Capital Insider.

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Raise the thermostat, drop the dress code

July 6, 2012 - 01:00 PM
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It's been a blistering hot Independence Day week. For yet another day, temperatures are expected to reach the triple digits. Federal employees returned to work on Thursday -- making this the perfect time for another "Summer Cool Biz" segment.

Fmr. Defense Department Spokesman J.D. Gordon studied the cost of cooling the Capitol. He shared the results of that study, and suggested a new dress code on Capital Insider.

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IMF outlines plan for U.S. growth in annual report

July 4, 2012 - 03:30 PM
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The International Monetary Fund released its annual report on Tuesday. Managing Director Christine Lagarde had some advice for U.S. lawmakers.

Lagarde said, in order to prevent another recession, lawmakers need to work quickly to stop tax increases, manage spending cuts, and take steps to reduce the deficit over time. She also recommended lawmakers raise the country's borrowing limit before another downgrade of U.S. debt.

Federal News Radio's Francis Rose discussed the pending fiscal cliff with Capital Insider.

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Assad tries to cool escalating tensions with Turkey

July 4, 2012 - 03:00 PM
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Syrian President Bashar Assad told a Turkish newspaper that he regrets the shooting down of a Turkish jet. The incident happened two weeks ago after the jet briefly strayed into Syrian airspace.

In response to that incident, Turkey deployed anti-aircraft missiles on the Syrian border and asked for NATO support.

On Tuesday, top diplomats in France and German said Assad should step down.

Col. Douglas MacGregor (U.S. Army, ret.) offered analysis on Capital Insider.

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Phased-in retirement, Hatch Act, and whistleblower improvements

July 3, 2012 - 01:30 PM
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Congress approved legislation on Friday to preserve jobs on transportation projects and freeze some student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent. The bill spends $100 billion on highway, mass transit, and other programs over the next two years.

The bipartisan compromise is sprinkled with a few extras -- like Asian carp, roll-your-own tobacco, and federal timber aid.

The Washington Post's "Federal Diary" Columnist Joe Davidson outlined how it impacts federal workers on Capital Insider.

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GOP, Democrats frame ACA ahead of elections

July 3, 2012 - 01:00 PM
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It has been five days since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama's signature piece of legislation dominated the Sunday talk shows. Democrats and Republicans used those shows to roll out their health care strategies. They want to frame this debate before the November general election.

CQ Roll Call Editor Adriel Bettelheim discussed the various approaches with Capital Insider.

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