Social Security employees are picketing outside their offices tomorrow. They hope to pressure leaders to strike a deal on the fiscal cliff. Their union, the American Federation of Government Employees, said sequestration could cut the agency’s budget by more than 5 percent. It said those cuts would add to the agency’s backlog and limit the help it could give Americans. It predicted Social Security would freeze hiring in all areas except its hearings operations. It would close 300 stations and cut face-to-face services in many rural areas. It would also stop mailing statements.
Travis Howerton — chief technology officer, National Nuclear Security Administration
Remember rotary phones? They seem so retro. Soon, the Energy Department is predicting, email will seem just as old fashioned. The department is taking a cue from Facebook and building its own social network. The National Nuclear Security Administration is piloting the system this spring. Chief Technology Officer Travis Howerton recently told an industry group it would let employees and contractors connect and work from anywhere.
Jeremy Herb — defense reporter, The Hill newspaper
The Senate has unanimously passed a 2013 Defense authorization bill last night, ignoring a veto threat by President Obama. It would give members of the military a 1.7 percent raise. It would also cut tens of thousands of civilian jobs in the Defense Department, and it would speed up the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.