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    U.S. Home Building Gains, New Permits Fall

    NEW YORK - Home building rose in April, government figures showed on Tuesday, as activity was possibly spurred by an $8,000 government tax credit for new buyers. But the data suggested that builders might also be slowing down their future construction plans. The Commerce Department said work started on 672,000 homes in April, up 5.8 percent from March. It was the ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    House approves $1.1 trillion spending measure

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats are muscling through a deficit-swelling spending bill, giving domestic programs their third major boost this year and awarding lawmakers with more than 5,000 home-state projects. The House voted 221-202 Thursday to pass the 1,088-page, $1.1 trillion measure _ combining $447 billion in operating budgets with about $650 billion in payments for federal benefit programs such as Medicare ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    At Hearing on Future of Postal Service, No Lack of Despondency

    At Hearing on Future of Postal Service, No Lack of Despondency
    A congressional hearing on the future of the U.S. Postal Service can be one depressing experience. The sky outside the Rayburn House Office Building was bright Thursday morning, but it was all gloom and doom in Room 2154. Members of a Committee on Oversight and Government Reform panel explored novel ways the Postal Service might pull itself from deep debt -- ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Tenn. Valley Authority Union Joins Larger Engineers Federation

    An independent engineers union at the Tennessee Valley Authority voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to affiliate with the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. The Engineering Association, which represents scientists, engineers, technicians and other white-collar workers at TVA, voted 856 to 88 in favor of joining IFPTE. The association approached IFPTE after an internal deliberation about whether to join a larger ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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    For Feds, More Get 6-figure Salaries

    For Feds, More Get 6-figure Salaries
    The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data. Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted. Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Army Post Shooting Rampage Leaves 13 Dead, 30 Hurt

    Army Post Shooting Rampage Leaves 13 Dead, 30 Hurt
    FORT HOOD, Texas – Soldiers who witnessed the shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead reported that the gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar!" before opening fire, the base commander said Friday. Lt. Gen. Robert Cone said officials had not yet confirmed that the suspected shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, made the comment, which is Arabic for "God is great!" ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Pay & Benefits Watch: Benefits Breakthroughs

    Pay & Benefits Watch: Benefits Breakthroughs
    Federal employees are set to receive smaller raises than they've become accustomed to, and lawmakers failed to secure civilians the same pay hike as their military counterparts next year. But despite that setback, 2009 was a big year for federal pay and benefits. Congress passed long-delayed changes to federal benefits policy and rolled back the Pentagon's controversial pay-for-performance system. A new ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Postal Service Eyes Options Beyond Layoffs and Buyouts

    The U.S. Postal Service must look for new ways to generate revenue beyond simply reducing its workforce, said lawmakers and witnesses during a House hearing on Thursday. Employee layoffs are not the only solution to digging the agency out of debt, said Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform's federal workforce subcommittee. "It would be a ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Fed Stimulus Plan Funded over 11.5K MA Jobs in Q1

    BOSTON - Federal stimulus funds directly funded 11,692 jobs in Massachusetts during the first three months of the year, according to newly released federal data. That's up from 9,474 jobs in the fourth quarter of last year, indicating some additional stimulus projects in Massachusetts have started ramping up hiring. Nationally, the government says 682,779 jobs were directly funded by the awards ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Federal Intern Program Blasted as Undermining Open Market Hiring

    WASHINGTON, DC - If you think the word "intern" refers just to the legions of eager young folks who descend on Washington each summer, providing cheap labor by day and guzzling beer at night, think again. When Uncle Sam talks about interns, he might mean the college students who get a few months of valuable on-the-job experience, but he also could ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Obama Executive Order Targets Payment Errors

    Obama Executive Order Targets Payment Errors
    Federal agencies soon will be required to create dashboards on their Web sites tracking the amount of money they have spent on improper payments, under a new directive from President Obama. The executive order -- which Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag previewed last week -- is aimed at increasing the transparency and public scrutiny of payments to ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Officials Pledge to Fix Federal Hiring Process

    Officials Pledge to Fix Federal Hiring Process
    Applying for a job with the federal government can be a miserable experience. Announcements of vacancies are often written in arcane, incomprehensible jargon; applications can stretch for dozens of pages; one branch of an agency might not have any idea of the hiring needs of a second branch. This is not the opinion of jilted job-seekers. Instead, it was the frank ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Feds, Retailers Flooded With Job Applications

    Feds, Retailers Flooded With Job Applications
    WASHINGTON - From federal government clerk positions to grocery store cashiers, the competition for jobs is phenomenal. Applications for all types of positions are flooding in. "We are pretty much overwhelmed with the number of applications that we are receiving for every job posting," says Deputy Associate Director of the Center for Talent and Capacity Policy at the U.S. Office of ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Obama is First President to Freeze Locality Pay

    Obama is First President to Freeze Locality Pay
    President Obama plans to freeze locality pay rates at 2009 levels for civilian federal employees in 2010, a move that has prompted protests from government employee groups. In a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Vice President Joe Biden on Monday, Obama said federal employees nationwide would receive a 2 percent increase in their base pay in 2010, ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Democrats Vow to Close Medicare 'Doughnut Hole'

    Democrats Vow to Close Medicare 'Doughnut Hole'
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's an annual ordeal for many seniors living on a budget. Medicare's coverage gap for prescription drugs - $3,610 next year - has steadily gotten bigger since the benefit's inception. But if Democrats have their way on health care overhaul, the dreaded "doughnut hole" will shrink by $500 right away and go away altogether by 2019. With ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Military 'Mentor' Pay a Main Factor in Review of Program

    WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates' decision announced Wednesday to order a review of the Pentagon's payments to retired senior officers for their advice was prompted in part by how much these "mentors" get paid. A USA TODAY review found: • The Navy pays its mentors an average of about $330 per hour, including expenses, according to its budget. • The ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Pay and Benefits: Watch Tax Trap

    Most people who have earned a paycheck probably have discovered that the federal income tax withholding formula can be complicated. But changes to withholding stemming from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are causing even more head-scratching than usual this year, both inside and outside the federal workforce. "When the tables first came out, there was a flurry of questions," ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    OMB Will Create New Performance Management Framework for Agencies

    OMB Will Create New Performance Management Framework for Agencies
    The Office of Management and Budget is developing a new federal performance management framework, the government's chief performance officer told lawmakers on Thursday. The approach will incorporate elements from other initiatives, including the Bush administration's Performance Assessment Rating Tool and the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act, OMB's Jeff Zients told a Senate subcommittee. "Our governmentwide performance measurement framework will be ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Withdrawal of TSA nominee raises concern about agency workforce

    Withdrawal of TSA nominee raises concern about agency workforce
    The lack of permanent leadership at the Transportation Security Administration is delaying action on several agency personnel issues, union leaders and other observers said on Wednesday. "TSA has a number of issues that continue to contribute to its high attrition rate and low workforce morale," said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, in a statement. "Many of these ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    States Look to Cheap Credit to Avoid Spending Cuts

    States Look to Cheap Credit to Avoid Spending Cuts
    State governments are rushing to borrow money to take advantage of cheap and plentiful credit at a time when tax collections are tumbling. Investors, lured by the safety of taxpayer-guaranteed debt, are lending states money at the lowest interest rates in decades. The borrowing has helped governments increase spending during the recession and avoid some painful spending cuts. Lower interest rates ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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