Thursday, December 6, 2012

Russian government protects corrupt officials, says Senator Wicker

Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi was granted permission to address the United States Senate to argue in favor of H.R. 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.

“I come to the floor today to support this bill. It has a very important twofold purpose: It approves normal trade relations with Russia, and at the same time the legislation insists that the Russian government adhere to the rule of law. It does so by putting consequences in place for those in Russia who abuse basic human rights. Granting PNTR to Russia is a big win for Americans. If Congress does not act, American workers, including millions employed by small businesses, stand to lose out to foreign competitors as Russia opens its market as a new member of the WTO.”

“Many in my home State of Mississippi and around the country deserve to benefit from increased trade that this new relationship would bring. More jobs and greater economic growth are our potential rewards here in the United States. Last year Mississippi's $55 million in exports to Russia helped support an estimated 170 jobs. Certainly this number needs to grow, and I believe it will under this legislation”, he said.

“Yet in realizing the immense trade potential at hand, we cannot ignore the urgent need to address serious concerns about Russia's appalling human rights record. Most agree that the Jackson-Vanik amendment currently in place is an outdated restriction on trade which could hurt American competitiveness. But repeal alone will not suffice when dealing with a country that continues to protect corrupt officials, and that is what the Russian government continues to do”, said Wicker (source: Congressional Record ).

Here is what Senator Wickers said about Russia last year (see video: Wicker Speaks on Senate Floor Regarding Russian Human Rights Abuses ).

Monday, November 26, 2012

This country has a to do list a mile long, says Courtney

On November 16, 2012 Congressman Joe Courtney went off on members in Congress for basically neglecting the people business and enjoying too many recesses.

“Mr. Speaker, as is obvious in this room, the business for the week has now concluded. This is a week which commenced on Tuesday; and prior to that, the Congress, the House, had not been in session for 7 weeks despite the fact that this country has a to-do list a mile long in terms of the critical issues that affect our health care system."

"Whether it's doctors' fees that are going to hit a cliff on January 1, a 37 percent cut for Medicare providers of all stripes, particularly in the physician community, we have the fiscal cliff, where tax rates are going to go up for almost every American wage earner if Congress fails to act. We have the sequestration, which is a measure which will be the equivalent of a chain saw going through the government, cutting .2 percent from every budget, whether it's defense or nondefense issues", he said.

“We have a farm bill which needs to be acted upon. We have, again, the 2008 farm bill which was a 5-year measure that has expired; and it's critical for rural America. We need to renew the farm bill. And to give one small example, which the dairy industry has reminded people of, that the price of a gallon of milk starting in January could potentially go as high as $7 if we don't restore and reauthorize the system of price supports that we have in our dairy industry. The Violence Against Women Act expires. Again, a critical measure so that law enforcement officials all across the country can continue the progress that we're making in terms of the issue of domestic violence and violence against children”, he complained.

“Again, the list goes on and on. And, incredibly, despite the fact that we have been out of town for 7 weeks -this House convened on Tuesday and is recessing again today for another week's break”, said Congressman Joe Courtney (source: Congressional Record ).

Monday, November 12, 2012

GPO strategy: Publishing from any source, in any format

In an environment in which most documents are created, transmitted and consumed electronically, the Government Printing Office has released a five-year strategic plan focused on turning the government’s printer into a digital information platform.

“The demand for printed publications has declined while there has been exponential growth in digital requirements,” the plan says. “GPO is transforming its business model to a content-centric model, focusing on managing content for customer and public use today and tomorrow.” This calls for increased use of electronic media.

The direction is not a new one for the 151-year-old GPO, which has been shifting its focus from ink-on-paper toward digital documents for the last 18 years. What is new is the speed and extent of the transformation, said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks.

“Any agency that has lasted as long as we have has had a history of change,” Vance-Cooks said. “The change we are experiencing today is far more rapid than anything we have experienced before.”
The level of sophistication expected by GPO customers is increasing, she said. “We are putting the information into any format that is wanted. We have to make sure that we watch the trends.”

GPO has been making documents and publications available online since 1994, when it created the GPO Access Web site. This was upgraded to the Federal Digital System (FDsys) portal in 2009, which included the ability to digitally sign and authenticate online documents, giving them the status of official records. This is an important element of GPO’s digital document management, Vance-Cooks said.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lingle Campaign Criticizes Hirono for Voting Against Funding the Tsunami Warning Network

U.S. Senate candidate Mazie Hirono earlier this year voted against funding the Tsunami Warning Network that provides Hawaii with early tsunami detection and warnings. The high-tech buoy network faced $4.5 million in cuts in February, and Hirono opposed bipartisan House legislation to fully fund the critical system for FY2013 [1].

"Hirono voted against the best interest of our state – a state in a Tsunami high-risk zone – and against one of our most important life-saving tools, by voting against fully funding the Tsunami Warning Network," said former Director of Hawaii Civil Defense and Linda Lingle Campaign Manager Bob Lee.

Despite Hirono's disregard for her constituency, the House of Representatives voted to strengthen the Tsunami Warning Network by reinstating full funding for education and awareness programs of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, and DART buoy network maintenance for FY 2013 [2], according to Lee.

"Hirono continues to demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the critical issues facing Hawaii, putting the people of Hawaii at an unnecessary risk. When push comes to shove, Mazie Hirono does not stand up for what is best for Hawaii," Lee added.

"Conversely, through Governor Lingle's leadership, Hawaii vastly improved its state civil defense operations. In 2005, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to earn the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's (NOAA) National Weather Service StormReady and TsunamiReady designations. Through the StormReady and TsunamiReady programs, Hawaii became better prepared to protect the lives and property of its residents and visitors during severe weather events. This readiness was aptly demonstrated in the safe and timely evacuations for our coastline communities statewide during the Chile Tsunami of February 27, 2010 and during the Japan (Tohoku) tsunami of March 11, 2011," Lee concluded.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Lab-developed tests covered by TRICARE may help guide breast cancer treatment choices

FALLS CHURCH, Va.Some TRICARE beneficiaries will soon be able to take advantage of new technologies aimed at helping patients and health care providers make more informed decisions regarding treatment options for surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy for some types of cancer.

On May 22, two laboratory-developed tests were approved for coverage by TRICARE under a demonstration project: the BRAC Analysis BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests (Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc.), and the Oncotype DX Breast Cancer Assay (Genomic Health, Inc.).

BRACAnalysis testing assesses a woman's risk of developing hereditary breast or ovarian cancers based on detection of mutations in their BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

The Oncotype DX breast cancer assay is a test that examines a breast cancer patient's tumor tissue at the molecular level; specifically, it is hoped that this information can help individualize the planning of the patient's breast cancer treatment. The complete description of this demonstration project is available at

The criteria for which of these tests will be covered by TRICARE are scheduled to be published in the TRICARE Operations Manual in August 2012. TRICARE providers will be prepared to accept patients under the demonstration project by Sept. 30; however, coverage for the approved use of these tests is retroactive to May 22. Beneficiaries should speak with their primary health care professional or their regional contractor to determine their eligibility for having these tests performed as a TRICARE benefit. Find regional contractor contact information at


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Catch Up on FDsys Webinars

Have you missed any of the recent educational webinars on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys)? Would you like to share past FDsys webinars with your staff? Recent webinars cover introductory information on navigating FDsys, basic and advanced search techniques, working with search results, tracking legislation, and tracking regulations. Visit the new FDsys webinar archive. Here you can view FDsys webinar recordings and download session slides and handouts. Subscribe to the RSS feed and be alerted when new webinars are posted.