Thursday Morning Federal Newscast – Nov. 11th

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.

  • A newspaper article and a report from the president’s Deficit Reduction Commission combined to put federal pay and benefits back in the spotlight. The commission chairmen released their draft list of recommendations yesterday. It included a three-year freeze on federal pay increases and a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce. Meanwhile, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia told a radio program slashing the federal bureaucracy could save $35 billion. And a USA Today story reiterated the growth in federal workers earning more than $150,000 per year. OPM Director John Berry issued a statement, as did Treasury Employees Union head Colleen Kelly.
  • IRS is calling its e-file system the norm, and not the exception any more. It has the figures to back that up. The tax agency reports that nearly 99 million out of 141.5 million individuals filed their federal income tax returns electronically during 2010. That translates to an electronic filing rate of 70 percent. By comparison, 30 percent filed electronically back in 2001. Also rising fast: The number of people who file from their own home computers.
  • The Interior Department has upgraded its Finance and Business Management system with new functions. And it added the U.S. Geological Survey to the roster of users. FBMS now incorporates acquisition, financial assistance, fleet management and personal property tracking. Also using the system are the Bureau of Land Managment, Office of Surface Mining, and the newly formed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Altogether, Interior has 4,200 users of the system.
  • The FBI has a new assistant director for counterterrorism. Mark F. Guiliano comes to the job after having overseen all domestic terrorism operations in the United States. He also led a group of FBI personnel who supported U.S. Special Forces components in Afghanistan. Giuliano replaces James W. McJunkin, who has been named assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office. McJunkin joined the FBI in 1987. He once led a team of FBI personnel with the on-scene investigation of a terrorist attack against the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan.
  • A study group convened to assess the impact of repealing the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy finds that the ban can be reversed with minimal increase in risk. The group’s findings include results from a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops in which more than seventy percent of respondents said repealing the ban would have either positive, mixed or nonexistent results. The Pentagon study group’s report is due to President Obama by December 1.
  • The U.S. Green Building Council has released its LEED 2012. The first open public comment period runs through the end of December. The Washington Business Journal reports that the new goals include aligning the credits across ratings systems more uniformly, and encouraging expanded reporting of utility performance and expenses and focusing on operations. They’re also looking at expanding into foreign markets.
  • CPS Professional Services will more than double its staff by June 2012. The small, service-disabled veteran-owned business, currently has 35 employees. The Washington Business Journal reports that CPS plans to hire fourteen more people by June 2011, plus 24 more by June 2012. But they need a place to put all those people. So, CPS consolidated its offices in Burke and Alexandria to seven-thousand square feet of space in Fairfax. CPS currently holds contracts with the departments of Homeland Security and Defense.
  • A new NASA report says the replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope is again overbudget – this time by another $1.5 billion. And it won’t be ready for its already delayed 2014 launch. An internal study says it will take about $6.5 billion to launch and run the James Webb Space Telescope. When the telescope was first announced more than a dozen years ago, it was supposed to launch in 2007. That was eventually delayed until 2014. The new report was issued at the request of the Senate. The internal investigation blamed poor cost control practices that NASA leadership should have noticed back in 2008. The earliest launch date is now September 2015.

More news links

Northrop Grumman wins $189.2M Navy contract



Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** On Veterans Day, we talk about the Defense budget and a former military officer who says that budget cuts should not undermine military incentives.

** And we’ll tell you about Checks for Vets. There are billions of dollars available to vets and their surviving spouses to help pay for assisted living and home care. We’ll tell you about it…

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