Civilians in War Zones Face Inconsistency From the Government
Joe Davidson | The Washington Post via YellowBrix
September 21, 2009
The House delivered Potter good news on Tuesday when it passed a measure that would save the Postal Service $4 billion this year (not the $1.4 billion in savings that was erroneously reported in Wednesday’s Federal Diary) in agency payments for the health benefits of current retirees.
That one-year reduction is fine for now, but it does not provide the long-term help the Postal Service needs. Relief from those payments is one of three priorities on Potter’s legislative list.
Another is getting authorization to eliminate Saturday delivery because the volume of mail has fallen sharply during the recession. Allowing five-day delivery would save $3.5 billion annually, Potter said.
He also wants permission to expand product offerings. That’s important, he said, because the Postal Service does not get tax dollars for its operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage and services to fund its operations.
In his speech, Potter did not specify what additional products he has in mind. But last month, he told Congress, “other national postal administrations complement their traditional offerings with banking, cellphone, logistics and other services to generate the income necessary to offset the costs of their universal service obligation — costs that cannot be met solely by the price of postage.”
By all accounts, the time it takes to get security clearances for sensitive federal jobs has decreased considerably.
OPM Director John Berry told Congress on Tuesday that he is “extremely proud of the progress my team has made eliminating the backlog of background investigations, meeting stringent timeliness goals and sustaining a focus on quality.”
Yet, as it relates to the Defense Department, Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) told a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing that he sees “little evidence of progress by the current administration in furtherance of . . . security clearance reform mandates.”
Voinovich acknowledged significant improvements in the time it takes to do background investigations for those seeking top secret and secret clearances. But he said it remains to be seen if the administration will be able to meet clearance timelines by a December 2009 deadline as the law requires.
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