Tuesday morning federal headlines – June 12, 2012

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The House has weighed in on federal pay, and now the Senate will get a turn.A Senate Appropriations subcommittee will meet today and is expected to produce a counterpart to House legislation. The House wants to freeze federal pay rates for a third year. The Washington Post says it isn’t clear if the Senate will support that as well. The White House has urged Congress to pass a 0.5 percent pay increase. (Washington Post)
  • The Office of Personnel Management is tightening the reins on converting political appointees to non-political, career jobs. In a memo from director John Berry, OPM says agencies must seek permission before placing current and recent political appointees in competitive or non-political excepted service positions. OPM also outlined guidelines for career Senior Executive Service appointments and prohibits agencies from giving senior political appointees incentive awards between now and Inauguration Day next January. Berry said agencies must pay particular attention to these guidelines in an election year. (Federal News Radio)
  • Commerce Secretary John Bryson has taken a medical leave of absence. Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank is acting secretary. California authorities believe Bryson suffered a seizure while driving in San Gabriel Saturday evening. He hit two other cars and was found unconscious behind the wheel of his own car. He’s been charged with a hit-and-run. The White House didn’t learn of Bryson’s plight until late Sunday. (Federal News Radio)
  • The National Labor Relations Board has gone back to court to try and undo a ruling. A judge in the U.S. District Court of D.C. invalidated a board vote on a union organizing rule because the board lacked a quorum. The Wall Street Journal reports, NLRB members were voting via their online system. They say the missing member, Brian Hayes, was online but chose to skip the vote. At issue was a rule making it easier for unions to quickly hold organizing elections. The board sent along a sworn affidavit from the agency’s CIO showing how the system works. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Staff at Veterans Affairs medical centers won’t be able to say they’ve misplaced anything. VA has awarded Hewlett Packard a contract to develop a real-time location system at all its medical centers and mail order pharmacies. NextGov reports, the deal will be worth as much as $543 million. Location systems apply antenna tags to items such as medical equipment or medicine bottles. They can then be tracked using the building’s WiFi. HP won a smaller contract last year to install an item tracking system at a single VA medical center in Ann Arbor, Mich. (NextGov)
  • The Voice of America, the news radio agency paid for by the U.S. government, may soon be coming to a station near you. But you may want to brush up on your Somali. VOA has been barred from broadcasting to domestic audiences for nearly seventy years. But, Government Executive now reports that a bipartisan team in the House has attached an amendment to the Defense authorization bill that would allow web streaming of broadcasts in key foreign communities living in the United States. They say it will help combat terrorism. But opponents of the amendment say it amounts to propaganda. (GovExec)