This week's poll listed an incorrect budget amount for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. The correct number is $129.2 billion. This correction should not significantly affect the poll results. We regret the error.
Driving cultural change is hard work in any organization, says Ellen Herbst, a former private-sector executive who is chief financial officer at the Department of Commerce. "You can make surface-level changes that last while you're on the job, but it you want something to stick, it takes more effort up front," she says.
The number of people claiming jobless benefits averaged just 287,750 in the four weeks running up to Oct. 4 -- an eight-year low, according to Labor Department data. That's good news for the broader economy, says economist Thomas Simons. "The less slack there is in the labor force, the more likely there is to be upward pressure on wages, which then of course would filter through to greater demand for all sorts of goods and services," he explains.
Two years after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects transgender workers from discrimination, the U.S. Department of Labor still has not provided comprehensive answers about protections against transgender federal contractors, this article says. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez has repeatedly stated that a review is underway, but a Freedom of Information Act request in April for records pertaining to the review produced no relevant documents. "How long does the review of a black-and-white decision that protects trans Americans need to last?" Human Rights Campaign spokesman Fred Sainz said on Tuesday.
The Department of Education announced on Tuesday that transgender students are protected from discrimination under the same federal laws that prohibit sex-based discrimination and harassment in schools. According to the department's Office for Civil Rights, Title IX of the Education Amendments "extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity." The department also said it plans to investigate any claims of harassment or discrimination on the grounds of gender nonconformity.
In September, with the shutdown looming, the State Department rushed to spend $180,000 on premium booze for its embassies, bringing its total alcohol tab for the year to more than $400,000. The department's booze spending included $22,416 on wine for its Tokyo embassy, and $15,900 on bourbon and whiskey for its Moscow embassy. Officials said the expenditures were necessary to ensure that U.S. diplomats "make the best impression" on foreign governments.