In a report to President Obama, the Office of Special Counsel described a "troubling pattern" of Veterans Affairs Department officials ignoring veterans' concerns about the quality of care at veterans' health facilities nationwide. The report cited whistleblowers' "struggle to overcome a culture of non-responsiveness."
"I am calling on Congress to support a new Counter-Terrorism Partnerships Fund of up to $5 billion, which will allow us to train, build capacity and facilitate partner countries on the front lines," said Obama May 28 while delivering the commencement address at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
Veterans Affairs Department Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday in the wake of findings that veterans' hospitals across the country doctored appointment wait lists. Shinseki couldn't help VA take the next step in reforming its practices without being a distraction, President Obama said at a May 30 press conference.
The House Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would make it easier for the head of the Veterans Affairs Department to fire senior executives. The bill's (H.R. 4031) passage comes as the VA is under fire for allegations that veterans died waiting for care and medical facilities doctored records to make it look like they were meeting department wait time goals.
Those responsible for alleged Veterans Affairs Department medical facility misconduct will be held accountable, but no action will be taken until two separate reports on the controversy are finished, President Obama said May 21 in a White House press conference. Obama dispatched White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors to investigate the alleged 40 deaths of veterans waiting for care at a VA medical facility in Phoenix and also allegations of rigged record keeping at facilities.
"There are many, many ways to fudge the work that OMB and Treasury now have to do," said Hudson Hollister of the Data Transparency Coalition.
The Obama administration may soon overhaul the Secure Communities program for immigration enforcement, according to local law enforcement officials who met with President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson May 13.
Big data poses a serious risk to consumer privacy and challenges corporations to responsibly handle security –two issues that need prompt attention and policy development from the White House, recommends a May 1 report (pdf) from the White House on big data.
President Obama could go farther in wielding executive power to push through policies that don't make it through Congress, says an April 15 Brennan Center for Justice report. "Bold executive action can help unstick some of the very gridlock that plagues government," says Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center and former Bill Clinton speechwriter.
President Obama, Tuesday, issued two directives aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap in the federal contractor workforce. An April 8 executive order protects a federal contractor employee's right to openly discuss pay with coworkers and prohibits the employer from retaliating against those employees who disclose their pay.