Wednesday morning federal headlines Sept. 7

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

  • Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has asked Congress for more financial flexibility to avoid default. At a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, he said the USPS will be unable to make a $5.5 billion payment to the Treasury due Sept. 30. By next summer, it will be unable to pay employees and contractors. That would seriously impact its ability to keep delivering the mail, Donahoe said. USPS wants to stop pre-paying retiree health benefit costs but is not seeking federal funds. The White House promises to come up with it’s own plan to restructure the Postal Service. (Federal News Radio)
  • Karl Krumbholz, a chief designer of the General Services Administration’s Networx telecommunications program, has announced he’ll retire Jan. 1st. Frank Tiller will fill in as manager of GSA’s Network Services Program. Krumbholz joined GSA in 2002 after spending eight years in the TRW corporation. He also served for 26 years in the Navy, rising to the rank of captain. At GSA, Krumbholz was the main force behind moving agencies off the old FTS-2001 telecom contracts and onto Networx. He’s been working on the successor contracts to Networx, a program known as Networx 2020. (Federal News Radio)

    The White House needs to provide more direction and support if it wants agencies to meet its open government directives, according to a newly released score-card on government secrecy. The report finds some progress when looking at traditional measures of government openness, such as response to Freedom of Information Act requests and publishing documents like budgets. But in other areas, the report found mixed or troubling results. (Federal News Radio)

  • Some travelers will have an easier time passing through TSA screening next month. The Transportation Security Administration will create special lanes for frequent fliers who pre-register with personal information. They’ll be able to keep their shoes on and their computers can stay zipped in their cases. The process, called Trusted Traveler, is part of what TSA calls its risk-based security initiative. Administrator John Pistole said the idea is to let trusted people speed through, so security screeners can concentrate more on suspicious passengers. Tests will take place in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami and Orlando. (TSA)
  • NASA’s chief technologist is returning to academia, the space agency announced. Bobby Braun said he’ll return to the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta after two years at NASA. Braun was a top adviser on technology policy and programs. Administrator Charles Bolden credits Braun with rebuilding NASA’s basic and applied research capabilities. Meanwhile, Joseph Parrish, the deputy chief technologist, will become acting chief. (NASA)
  • President Barack Obama is expected to propose $300 billion in tax cuts and federal spending when he unveils his jobs agenda in a national address Thursday night.The two biggest measures are expected to be a one-year extension of a payroll tax cut for workers and an extension of expiring jobless benefits. The White House is also considering a tax credit for businesses that hire the unemployed and spending on public works projects like school construction. Obama’s speech will come the same day that Congress’s bipartisan deficit-reduction super committee holds its first meeting. (Federal News Radio)
  • The president’s pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has vowed to make streamlining regulations a top priority. Richard Cordray told the Senate Banking Committee that, if confirmed, he would tackle the mountain of regulations that he says burden banks and discourages them from lending money. The New York Times reportscommittee Republicans are worried the bureau could wield unchecked power over the banking industry. Cordray said the new agency would be accountable to Congress. (The New York Times)