Friday Morning Federal Newscast – July 23rd

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.

  • The Senate has passed its version of an emergency war bill. The move comes as leaders for the Air Force, Army and Navy warn of possible furloughs that could begin in weeks for defense civilians. The spending bill now goes to the House. According to published reports, the Air Force and Navy could run out of money to pay military service members if the bill doesn’t become law by September. (Coverage includes the Associated Press, GovExec, DefenseNews, and UPI among others.)
  • Federal workers are too often promoted to management because of their technical skill, not their potential to manage. That’s the chief finding of a new report from the Merit Systems Protection Board. And when feds reach their first managerial slot, they often don’t get the training they need, the board says. Board chairwoman Susan Grundmann wrote, the result is often suboptimal first-level supervision. The report came out just as the Federal Supervisor Training Act cleared a House subcommittee.
  • The way your agency spends money is changing. President Obama has signed a law to slash $50 billion dollars in improper payments. The measure requires federal agencies to come up with plans to reduce overpayment errors. Agencies will also need to launch recovery audits to get back money that’s already been lost. The White House says agencies improperly paid out 110 billion dollars just last year.
  • More soldiers are leaving the Army because of mental illness. USA Today reports one in nine medical discharges is because of a mental disorder. The number has jumped 64-percent from 2005 to 2009. But that’s just for mental illness. Soldiers discharged for having both a mental and a physical disability increased 174-percent during that same time. Veterans advocates say the trend shows an emotional toll on the military that has been fighting for seven years in Iraq and nine years in Afghanistan.
  • The Department of Energy wants to turn sunlight into fuel. The agency is working with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on the project. The San Francisco Business Journal reports the lab will house part of a $122 million dollar initiative called “The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis.” The second half of the site will be at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The five year deal will give scientists time to find a way to copy photosynthesis. They hope to mimic the way plants make fuel from sunshine – and find ways to make the process more efficient.
  • They hollered, and they’ve been heard. Public safety officials throughout the country have lobbied against a Federal Communications Commission plan to sell a piece of radio spectrum first responders say they need. Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller said he’ll introduce legislation to stop sale of the 10 megahertz D-block of spectrum, according to NextGov. The D-block frequencies would then be combined with spectrum already used by public safety groups — a move recommended by the 9/11 Commission.
  • The National Nuclear Security Administration is about to get a new manufacturing campus. Money is starting to flow to the new 1.5 million square foot site in Kansas City – which means the bulldozers aren’t far behind. The Kansas City Business Journal reports the first $10.5 million dollars of construction financing for the NNSA project was to be transferred to an infrastructure account yesterday. GSA will be able to increase the property tax revenue generated by the site because it is using a private development team to build – and ultimately own – the new NNSA facility. The new five-building campus will be owned for 20 years by the city’s Planned Industrial Expansion Authority, and leased to the developer, which will sublease it to the GSA for use by the NNSA.



Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** Bono and the Navy: think they don’t have anything in common? We’ll make the connection for you — and a hint: it has to do with getting a competitive advantage.

** And you’re working to be innovative. We’ll talk to a Columbia University professor who says you need a SIU — a special innovation unit

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