Tuesday Morning Federal Newscast – September 21st

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 FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The board governing the Thrift Savings Plan is setting aside funds as it gets ready to launch the Roth Option. Federal Times reports the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board figures it will spend $3.9 million above what is currently budgeted in 2011 to inform TSP participants about Roth Individual Retirement Accounts and how they work. Roth IRAs will be available to federal employees starting in January 2012, three years after they were ordered into law by Congress.
  • Members of the Senate have introduced a bill to reform the Federal Protective Service. That agency protects 9,000 federal buildings, and has come under fire from government auditors for ineffective management and oversight. Among other things, the bill would give FPS the ability to hire another 500 full time employees. The measure would also tackle problems with the agency’s contract guard program, setting up procedures for retraining and firing ineffective guards. It would also let FPS officers carry firearms off duty. A statement about the bill says that provision would allow officers to respond more quickly to emergencies.
  • Officials say a person opened fire at a small grocery store on Fort Bliss, injuring two people before being killed by responding officers. Police wouldn’t discuss the victims’ conditions or other details of Monday’s shooting at the West Texas Army post. While the area was roped off for an FBI investigation, but the facility was never under lockdown. The shooting was reported about 3 p.m. and authorities responded in about three minutes. Police say the post’s emergency notification system worked well.
  • The National Institutes of Health has opened bidding for a government-wide IT contract that could be worth $20 billion. The CIO SP-3 contract will be used to support agencies with health-related duties. The task orders will cover several areas, including imaging, outsourcing and software development. In order to bid, companies must have specific health and IT capabilities. Responses are due November 19. NIH says a small business version of the contract will be released soon.
  • Emergent BioSolutions’ latest vaccine contract with the federal government provides some diversity to the government stockpile. The Washington Business Journal reports that the deal is worth as much as $186 million. Emergent is looking to branch out beyond its role as a biodefense contractor. Last week, it announced a five-year agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a recombinant protective antigen, or rPA, anthrax vaccine, “very similar” to BioThrax. BioThrax is the only anthrax vaccine to be approved by the FDA, and provides all of the company’s sales revenue.
  • The Navy is moving to increase the viability of shipbuilding at Northrop Grumman’s Avondale, Louisiana shipyard. Northrop had planned to wind down ship construction at that facility in 2013, and move some of the work to Pascagoula, Mississippi. The Wall Street Journal reports the move by the Navy is unusual – it announced it would move up construction of a new class of double-hulled oil tankers to 2014, three years earlier than planned. The Navy also plans to spend more on training. Northrop’s announcement about Avondale was a blow to the Gulf Coast region, which was still struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina five years ago and this year’s Gulf oil spill. The Avondale yard is the largest industrial employer in Louisiana, directly employing around 5,000 workers.
  • Five of the federal prosecutors whose firings in 2006 sparked an investigation into President George W. Bush’s Justice Department blame their ouster on politics. They spoke at a forum in Little Rock, Ark. Former prosecutor John McKay says former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made the agency a “laughing stock.”

More news links

Daycare center gets tentative offer of space (Examiner)


FBI says it supplied fake bomb in Chicago plot

IG: FBI gave inaccurate statements on surveillance

Border governors call for US immigration reform

AT&T to sell satellite-enabled smart phone

Study: Flu shot may help reduce heart attacks (CNN)


Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** World leaders are meeting at the United Nations in New York. How is diplomacy changing? We’ll tell you about the world of 21st century statecraft.

** And government performance — a number of government management experts are getting behind a bill that would require you to set performance goals that are tied to real world results. We’ll tell you more.

Join Chris from 3 to 7 pm on 1500 AM or on your computer.