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DC Notes: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, is raising money for re-election campaign

On March 13, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, and other GOP senators were the honorary hosts for a “campaign kickoff” and “season pass” dinner in Washington for Sen. Jim Inhofe's re-election campaign.
by Chris Casteel Published: March 31, 2013

President Barack Obama gave a speech about gun violence Thursday and said, “Why wouldn't we want to make it more difficult for a dangerous person to get his or her hand on a gun? Why wouldn't we want to close the loophole that allows as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases to take place without a background check?”

The letter sent by Inhofe and other senators says they will oppose a move to proceed with any legislation that would impose additional gun restrictions. That tactic could block the Senate from hearing the bill.

Coburn wants data on idle government workers

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, says he has eliminated seven full-time positions in the past year in his Senate office and the federal government could do the same kind of top-to-bottom review at a time when agencies are threatening furloughs of critical workers.

“It makes little sense to furlough air traffic controllers and border patrol agents while retaining employees who are AWOL, on standby, not performing official duties, or sitting idle awaiting security clearances,'' Coburn said in a letter to the director of the federal Office of Personnel Management.

Coburn, who has for weeks been detailing ways the government could save money before it furloughs essential workers, wants the personnel management office to provide information about:

• The cost of payments to employees who are absent without leave (AWOL) or on standby status;

• The amount spent on employees performing union-related activities, known as “official time, during their normal work hours. According to the Office of Personnel Management, the government spent over $155 million on 3.4 million hours of official time in 2011. That's the equivalent of a full year's worth of work for 1,632 employees, Coburn said.

Coburn said employees of government contractors waiting on security clearances are also being “paid to do nothing.”

CHRIS CASTEEL, Washington Bureau

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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