AFGE opposes bill amending official time law


AFGE opposes bill amending official time law

March 9, 2017 (Photo Credit: cyano66 via Getty Images)
The American Federation of Government Employees opposes a House bill the federal employee union claims would limit federal employees’ access to union representation.

“[The Official Time Reform Act of 2017] is a blatant attempt to bust federal employee unions and silence the voice of workers in decisions that impact not only their jobs, but services the American people rely on,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a news release.

According to the AFGE, the legislation targets federal employees’ use of official time, capping the amount union volunteers can spend providing representational work or meeting with agency leaders to discuss workplace improvements. In addition, a financial disincentive is created for employees to volunteer as union representatives by cutting their pension accrual for any time spent on representational work above the arbitrary caps.

“This legislation creates a form of micromanaging that will tie the hands of supervisors and agency officials when it comes to scheduling meetings, legal proceedings, and non-official time work for union representatives, ultimately discouraging the use of official time,” said the AFGE in an official letter of opposition sent to Sens. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Questions Basic Facts About Climate Change



Scott Pruitt’s comments on carbon dioxide come just over two weeks after he took the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency with the authority to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases as pollutants. Susan Walsh/AP

President Trump’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency says he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a major cause of global warming.

“I would not agree that [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Scott Pruitt said Thursday in an interview with CNBC’s Joe Kernen.

“I believe that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact,” Pruitt said.

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Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government


Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government

We have obtained a list of more than 400 Trump administration hires, including dozens of lobbyists and some from far-right media.

by Justin Elliott, Derek Kravitz and Al Shaw

Clouds gather over the White House in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 25, 2017. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

The Trump Administration

ProPublica’s ongoing coverage of the 45th President.

A Trump campaign aide who argues that Democrats committed “ethnic cleansing” in a plot to “liquidate” the white working class. A former reality show contestant whose study of societal collapse inspired him to invent a bow-and-arrow-cum-survivalist multi-tool. A pair of healthcare industry lobbyists. A lobbyist for defense contractors. An “evangelist” and lobbyist for Palantir, the Silicon Valley company with close ties to intelligence agencies. And a New Hampshire Trump supporter who has only recently graduated from high school.

These are some of the people the Trump administration has hired for positions across the federal government, according to documents received by ProPublica through public-records requests.


While President Trump has not moved to fill many jobs that require Senate confirmation, he has quietly installed hundreds of officials to serve as his eyes and ears at every major federal agency, from the Pentagon to the Department of Interior.


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Here are 42 of President Donald Trump’s planned EPA budget cuts


Here are 42 of President Donald Trump’s planned EPA budget cuts

President Donald Trump, who has attacked the Environmental Protection Agency as a job-killer, has proposed sweeping cuts to the federal regulator in charge of enforcing the country’s clean air and clean water laws. (AP Photo/File)

Rob Davis | The Oregonian/OregonLiveBy Rob Davis | The Oregonian/OregonLive
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on March 02, 2017 at 2:21 PM, updated March 03, 2017 at 4:16 PM

President Donald Trump’s planned cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency would slash its workforce by almost 3,000 employees and its budget by $2 billion.

The National Association of Clean Air Agencies obtained a copy of the plan and detailed some of the major cuts for The Oregonian/OregonLive. The list is not complete.

Some agency programs would be cut far more substantially or eliminated altogether.

We reported Wednesday on what the cuts would mean for Oregon.

Continue reading “Here are 42 of President Donald Trump’s planned EPA budget cuts”

For The First Time In 146 Years Chicago Goes Without Snow During January And February



Tom Skilling, chief meteorologist for WGN-TV and The Chicago Tribune, talks about the Windy City’s changing weather, specifically the record-breaking lack of snow this year.


What comes to mind when I say the words Chicago winter? An icy wind, perhaps, maybe the frozen lake. How about snow piled high in the streets?

TOM SKILLING: You’ve got to take winter seriously in this part of the world. There are some pretty cold days in December, January and February. audio record.

Continue reading “For The First Time In 146 Years Chicago Goes Without Snow During January And February”

Trump Administration Plans Reconsideration of Auto-Emission Standards

Trump Administration Plans Reconsideration of Auto-Emission Standards

March 3, 2017, 2:56 PM CST March 3, 2017, 3:47 PM CST
  • Automakers had sought reconsideration of Obama determination
  • Reopening gives carmakers chance to seek relaxed standards

The Trump administration plans to open the door to a possible reconsideration of greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and light trucks that has been sought by automakers, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The Environmental Protection Agency in the final days of the Obama administration decided to lock in the emissions standards through 2025 that had been negotiated with the industry in 2011.

That decision will be withdrawn for reconsideration as early as next week, said the person, who would only discuss the plans on the condition of anonymity because they have not been made public. An EPA spokeswoman declined to comment.

It will be one of a series of actions taken by the Trump administration recently to reconsider or reverse Obama-era regulations opposed by industry.

Continue reading “Trump Administration Plans Reconsideration of Auto-Emission Standards”

White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agency

White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agency

March 3 at 7:17 PM


The Trump administration is seeking to slash the budget of one of the government’s premier climate science agencies by 17 percent, delivering steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs, according to a four-page budget memo obtained by The Washington Post.

The proposed cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would also eliminate funding for a variety of smaller programs, including external research, coastal management, estuary reserves and “coastal resilience,” which seeks to bolster the ability of coastal areas to withstand major storms and rising seas.

NOAA is part of the Commerce Department, which would be hit by an overall 18 percent budget reduction from its current funding level.

The Office of Management and Budget also asked the Commerce Department to provide information about how much it would cost to lay off employees, while saying those employees who do remain with the department should get a 1.9 percent pay increase in January 2018. It requested estimates for terminating leases and government “property disposal.”

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House leaders forge ahead with health bills, hoping to bulldoze internal strife

House leaders forge ahead with health bills, hoping to bulldoze internal strife

March 2 at 4:16 PM
Key House committees are set to take up legislation to repeal and begin replacing the Affordable Care Act next week, with Republican leaders intent on overcoming internal GOP debates to quickly deliver on a central campaign promise.

Those intraparty struggles were highlighted Thursday when a Republican senator joined Democrats in calling for more transparency in the legislation’s drafting and suggested that House leaders were keeping details under wraps to sideline conservatives.

“This is being presented as if it were a national secret, as if this were a plot to invade another country,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) as he stood outside a Capitol conference room where members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee met.

But elsewhere Thursday, GOP leaders expressed confidence that they were about to make good on a seven-year-old pledge to undo the ACA.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) laid out a three-week timeline for the passage of health-care legislation in a closed-door Capitol meeting with fellow Republicans Thursday morning, according to numerous attendees.

Continue reading “House leaders forge ahead with health bills, hoping to bulldoze internal strife”