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Update on Status of Negotiations to Fund Government, Prevent Shutdown

Written by FEDagent on . Posted in General News

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: government shutdown Obamacare debt limit Harry Reid government funding

Just the Facts

New Names to be Dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

Last year, 100 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement officers lost their lives serving in communities across America. With the addition of those 100 names, along with the 186 recently discovered line-of-duty deaths from past years, 286 names will be dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, during the 26th Annual Candlelight Vigil, held on May 13. Learn more about National Police Week and the many ceremonies and events taking place in Washington, DC, www.LawMemorial.org/Programs/PoliceWeek/.

For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, please visit www.nleomf.org. For more information about the National Law Enforcement Museum, please visit www.nleomf.org/museum.

Contest Corner

Win A Free Full Conference Pass to GovSec 2014

Want to win a FREE ticket to the nation's premiere government security, law enforcement and homeland security expo and conference?

GovSec 2014 is the only event that brings together everything you need to be ready when it counts. This year's conference runs from May 13-15 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

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Takedowns

Justice Department Announces First Ever Successful Extradition on Antitrust Charge

Last week the Justice Department announced the first ever successfully litigated extradition on an antitrust charge.

Romano Pisciotti, an Italian national, was extradited from Germany on a charge of participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids, fixing prices and allocating market shares for sales of marine hose sold in the United States and elsewhere, according to the Justice Department press release.

Pisciotti arrived last week in the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, and appeared before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Ft. Lauderdale.

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GEICO's Good Stuff

OPM Retirement Backlog Shrank in March

GEICO’s Good Stuff is a column series highlighting great stuff happening in the federal community.

The number of backlogged retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) fell in March, as the agency was able to process more claims than it took in.

According to new figures from OPM, the backlog of unprocessed claims stood at 18,573 at the end of March, down from 23,554 at the end of February.

The agency expects the overall claims backlog to trend downward over the next few months, but still has thousands of unprocessed claims pending after sequestration and cuts to overtime slowed the process last year.

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Case Law Update

Federal Employee Kills Spouse and Self Leading to Inheritance Dispute at MSPB

A federal employee covered under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (“FERS”) designated his wife as his only beneficiary for any contributions to his retirement account that were payable at his death. The employee and his wife did not have children together, but both had adult children from previous relationships. On October 15, 2011, the employee killed his wife and then, apparently, took his own life as well. The employee’s wife’s son, on behalf of her estate, applied for a lump-sum credit based on the employee’ service, but the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) denied the application, finding that the employee’s wife predeceased the employee, meaning that because she died before the employee, she could not come into possession (as a beneficiary) of any contributions to his retirement account payable at death. OPM found that the employee’s children, rather than the employee’s wife’s children, were the beneficiaries of the lump-sum benefit. The wife’s estate appealed to the MSPB, and an MSPB administrative judge applied Virginia’s Slayer Statute to find that the employee, because he was the “slayer,” legally predeceased his wife, and therefore the wife’s estate was entitled to the lump-sum benefit. OPM petitioned the full Board for review, and on April 1, 2014, the Board reversed the initial decision and affirmed OPM’s final decision denying the application.

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