Federal News Countdown: Sequestration, postal reform and House Oversight restructuring

Today’s guests on the Federal News Countdown:
Rob Burton, partner, Venable
Francis Rose, “In Depth” host

Rob Burton’s stories
#3 GSA calls for travel advisory committee nominations
From Federal News Radio:

The General Services Administration is soliciting nominees to serve on the new Government-wide Travel Advisory Committee (GTAC). GSA recently determined that an agency was needed to oversee existing government travel policies and procedures to ensure that they were sufficiently transparent and accountable.

#2 Obama signs $633B defense bill
From Federal News Radio:

President Barack Obama signed a $633 billion defense bill for next year despite serious concerns about the limits Congress imposed on his handling of terror suspects and lawmakers’ unwillingness to back the cost-saving retirement of aging ships and aircraft. Obama had threatened to veto the measure because of a number of concerns, but relented because he couldn’t pick and choose specific sections.

#1 ‘Fiscal cliff’ deal leaves lots of issues dangling
From Federal News Radio:

The “fiscal cliff” compromise on taxes leaves a big part of the nation’s budget crisis still dangling. Lawmakers bought a little time with a New Year’s agreement to hold income tax rates steady for 99 percent of Americans while allowing payroll taxes to go up. But they left themselves only two months to settle seemingly irreconcilable differences over how much the United States should borrow and spend and where painful budget cuts should land.

Francis Rose’s stories
#3 Lawmakers ‘committed’ to postal reform in new Congress
From Federal News Radio:

While the last Congress failed to pass comprehensive legislation to shore up the U.S. Postal Service, top lawmakers from both parties say they are committed to working together to patch up the ailing agency in the new Congress. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a joint statement Thursday, citing an “unwavering” commitment to restoring USPS to solvency.

#2 Mica to take over new Government Operations subcommittee
From Federal News Radio:

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is consolidating two subcommittees that oversee major agency functions, such as procurement and technology, into a new one called the Subcommittee on Government Operations. An Oversight and Government Reform Committee source confirmed that Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) will be the chairman of the new panel.

#1 Sequester delayed for two months; pay freeze extension still possible
From Federal News Radio:

Federal agencies received a two-month reprieve from the across-the-board spending cuts that were scheduled to start Jan. 2 under the Budget Control Act. The House, Senate and White House agreed to delay the effects of sequestration until March under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The Senate passed the bill Dec. 31 by a vote of 89-8, and the House followed Jan. 1 by a vote of 256-171.