May the Force Awaken in Congress

Last week, as Hollywood celebrated the much-anticipated film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, people in Washington, DC (or as I like to call it, “Hollywood for Geeks”), celebrated the end of the year’s Congressional session with the passage of a $1.1 trillion spending bill along with a tax extenders bill. Having just purchased my tickets for The Force Awakens, the DC geek in me can’t help but feel as though the credits are rolling on the second part of a three-part Congressional trilogy.

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Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Oh no, here we go again…maybe. Congress has once again brought our government to the verge of shutdown, not because there are wide differences over the spending levels, but rather over a host of unrelated policy issues best handled as stand-alone legislation than attached to annual spending bills.

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Procrastination: Congress Style

Congress left town this week for the month of August. When they return after Labor Day they might just turn around and leave again. Why? Because all the tough calls they couldn’t make before August will still be here when they get back and with even less time to get it all it done.

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President Releases FY 2016 Budget, Battles with Congress Loom

When the president announced his next to last budget on Monday he laid down a blueprint designed to draw sharp distinctions from the new GOP controlled Congress, but also looks for common ground on some policies. For example, the budget calls for tax increases on the wealthiest Americans while seeking to boost defense spending. The budget proposes ending the sequester, something the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget deal accomplished for two years, but it also called for increases in non-defense domestic spending increases.

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For What It’s Worth—The House Budget Resolution

Last week, the GOP-led House of Representatives passed a budget resolution that would seem to balance the budget by gutting domestic discretionary spending, boosting military spending, cutting taxes for the wealthiest and raising them for working Americans. In fact, the Ryan Budget Resolution cuts discretionary programs more deeply than the continuation of sequestration would, by a whopping $791 billion.

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Your New Holiday Carol: The Twelve Numbers of Congress

The Thanksgiving holiday fell later this year, which caused retailers great alarm since there would be six fewer shopping days left between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Congress is also running out of time between the holidays to accomplish their year-end goals, and yet they aren’t feeling the same level of angst. There are a number of unfinished items to work on but given that the holidays are upon us, I feel the highlights are best depicted as the Twelve Numbers of Congress. Sing along if you’d like.

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Goodwill® Featured in Report Outlining Negative Impact of Funding Cuts

This week, as Congress prepares for another effort to stabilize the nation’s fiscal outlook, a new report illustrates the impact that recent cuts to discretionary programs – including job training programs operated by Goodwill – has negatively affected people. “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Secure,” was released by NDD United, an alliance of more than 3,200 national, state, and local organizations – including Goodwill Industries International (GII) – working to prevent more harsh cuts to core government functions.

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Building a Skilled Workforce Is Crucial to Economic Recovery

A recent column, “Building America’s Workforce,” appeared in a publication commonly read by Congressional members and staff alike. The author, Thomas Hilliard, a senior fellow in workforce development policy at the Center for an Urban Future, discusses the pressures that obstruct our nation's job training system from producing a workforce with the skills that businesses need to compete in the global economy. These pressures include the skills gap; a disjointed, multi-piece skills-building system; and underfunding.

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Congress' Mid-Year Review Reveals Room for Improvement

Twice a year, I sit down with my team and we discuss goals, strengths and areas for improvement as part of our company’s performance review process. It is the season for mid-year reviews and Congress should have theirs. As voters, we “hire” these elected officials for the job and as all good supervisors we should be providing feedback often.

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Congress’ Mid-Year Review Reveals Room for Improvement

Twice a year, I sit down with my team and we discuss goals, strengths and areas for improvement as part of our company’s performance review process. It is the season for mid-year reviews and Congress should have theirs. As voters, we “hire” these elected officials for the job and as all good supervisors we should be providing feedback often.

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