• European Train Attack Draws Attention to U.S. Rail Security

    European Train Attack Draws Attention to U.S. Rail Security

    Decisive action by passengers aboard a European train travelling between Amsterdam and Paris saved the lives of many in the face of a gunman armed with an AK-47 rifle, a handgun, explosives and a box cutter.

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Update on Status of Negotiations to Fund Government, Prevent Shutdown

Last Friday, September 20, 2013, the House of Representatives passed, on a party line vote of 230-189, a continuing resolution (H.J.Res.59) to keep the government funded through December 15, 2013, at a sequestration level budget cap of $986.3 billion. 

Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-2) was the only Republican to vote no, and Reps. Jim Matheson (UT-4) and Mike McIntyre (NC-7) were the only Democrats to vote yes. 

The House legislation includes language to defund the 2010 Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and directs the Treasury to prioritize payments on public debt and Social Security benefits if the nation’s debt limit is reached. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration, where it will be taken up and likely amended later this week. 

Reports indicate that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will allow the Senate to vote on motions to move the House legislation forward with the Obamacare defunding language intact prior to amending out the defunding language before sending the bill to the floor for a simple majority vote, which would allow the Senate to pass a “clean” continuing resolution that does not defund Obamacare.

Reports also indicate that the Senate bill will fund the government through November 15, 2013, rather than December 15 which was in the House bill, with the intention of providing legislators more time to work on appropriations bills before the end of the calendar year. 

Once the Senate-amended legislation heads back to the House, likely sometime this weekend, it is unclear how that chamber will react to the altered bill. 

Complicating the path forward is the nation’s proximity to the debt limit, which Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says will be reached “no later than October 17,” and House votes that are scheduled on raising the debt limit for later this week. House Republicans may attempt to tie a debt limit deal to passage of the continuing resolution, which Democrats have said is a non-starter, and which could derail the legislative process. 

Also potentially complicating the process are reports that House Republicans may amend a one-year delay of the Obamacare individual mandate onto the Senate-amended bill and send the bill back to the Senate for a vote. If that language is included, the chances of a government shutdown increase because of the limiting time Congress has to pass a continuing resolution. 

Legislative brinksmanship will likely take the Congress to the last moment possible to strike a deal avoiding a government shutdown. Yet given the intractable positions held by both sides, it is possible an agreement will not be reached and the government will be shut down.   

FEDagent will continue to closely monitor this situation as it develops, and will be providing updates on our social media channels. 

Tags: Obamacare, debt limit, government funding

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This Week on FEDtalk

Re-Discover the DC Area's National Parks

Tune in to FEDtalk this week to discover the many offerings of the region’s national parks from the park representatives themselves. Summer is wrapping up, but there's still time for a day trip to Harpers Ferry, an afternoon in the sun at Anacostia Park, or a visit to one of Rock Creek Park’s numerous events.

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FLEOA Legislative Update

The FLEOA Legislative Machine prevailed with the hard-fought passage of H.R. 2146 (TSP bill). On June 29th, the FLEOA-initiated TSP bill, Defending Public Safety Employees' Retirement Act, was signed into law. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Reichert who introduced the bill, those under the law enforcement retirement system will now be able to access their TSP at age 50 without incurring the IRS’ 10 percent penalty.‎ This allows federal law enforcement officers to be on par with their state and local counterparts who are also eligible to retire at age 50.

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