Washington Daybook: Deadline Driven

Photograph by Rolf Vennenbernd/AFP via Getty Images

A Samsung Galaxy Tab near a Apple iPad computer tablet at the Duesseldorf courthouse during the opening of a trial between Apple and Samsung.

If there’s one thing that Washington loves, it’s a deadline. In fact, nothing much seems to happen here without one.

Today is the deadline for the Office of Management and Budget to respond to a request from House Republican lawmakers for documents on an agency memorandum covering possible layoffs from automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.

In that memo, OMB said the if sequestration forces a federal agency to terminate a federal contract, and a contractor implements a layoff after following Labor Department guidance not to warn its employees, as required by law, the agency could cover any resulting liability and litigation costs.

A much bigger deadline looms on Jan. 1, when, unless Congress acts, sequestration and expiring tax cuts take effect in what’s known as the fiscal cliff. Both came about as Congress tried to force itself to be responsible and pay for past stimulus, tax cuts and other programs while curbing the deficit.

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who face a deadline of their own in 19 days on Election Day, may discuss sequestration and the fiscal cliff during campaign stops today in the swing state of Virginia.

Today is also the deadline set by Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, for CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to respond to questions about cyber-security practices and what they think the government’s role should be in protecting the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure.

On Sept. 19, Rockefeller wrote the CEOs, asking for comments “without the filter of beltway lobbyists,” to gauge their level of opposition to cybersecurity legislation, which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said is very high, according to the letter.

And as often happens with deadlines, some get pushed back. Today was the deadline for an International Trade Commission judge to issue his findings in an Apple Inc. case claiming Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets infringe patents on the look and features of the iPhone and iPad. Citing a “relentless hearing schedule,” the judge this week pushed back that deadline to Oct. 25.

Also today, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations releases results of polls in battleground states Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada. Advocacy groups including Public Citizen and People for the American Way rally to urge the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to disclose sources of electoral advertising funds. And the White House holds its 2012 Fall Garden Tour. Visitors will be able to view Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, the Rose Garden, the South Lawn and the White House Kitchen Garden, starting at 9 a.m.

 Juliann Francis contributed to this report.

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