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.
The move toward municipally run broadband networks suffered a setback when the Justice Department declined to step in and aid the Federal Communications Commission in its legal battle against state laws that limit such networks.
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.
The Department of the Interior has delayed the implementation of rules covering hydraulic fracturing. Interior earlier planned to finalize the rules by year's end, but it now "expects action on the [hydraulic fracturing] proposal in the new year," said Blake Androff, a spokesman for the department. "[A]s we continue to offer millions of acres of America's public lands for oil and gas development, it is important that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place."
The Senate voted 54-41 to approve an amendment that would allow the Department of Defense to invest in advanced-biofuel plants through a partnership deal involving the Agriculture, Energy and Navy departments. "Developing a commercially viable biofuels industry could help DOD diversify its fuel sources and reduce the risk of energy volatility," said Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who introduced the amendment.
Like most Americans, Andrew Eil had to learn new languages from scratch. Now an employee of the U.S. State Department, Eil has command of four languages beyond his native English, and he learned them all without taking shortcuts.