Thursday Morning Federal Newscast – January 27th

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.

  • Federal employees in Washington have some extra time, if needed, to get to work this morning. Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN under 2 hours delayed arrival and employees have the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework, the Office of Personnel Management has announced. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would normally arrive.
  • If you thought about taking the train instead of driving, today might not be the day. Amtrak says service throughout the Northeast will likely be delayed because of snow. The Washington Business Journal reports that routes between DC, New York and Boston will likely be disrupted by the winter weather. The rail service suggests you call ahead before making your way to the station.
  • Service members are pulling in higher salaries and benefits than federal civilians. That news comes from a new Congressional Budget Office report. The study found that enlisted service members take in higher cash compensation than three quarters of civilian workers with similar education. The story is similar for officers with at least two years of experience. When compared to civilians with four-year college degrees. But the study also notes that comparing military and civilian pay isn’t always apples-to-apples, because not all jobs are the same.
  • The federal budget deficit will reach nearly $1.5 trillion dollars in 2011. The Congressional Budget Office says lower tax receipts plus higher spending are behind the record deficit. The 2010 deficit hit just under $1.3 trillion. This year’s deficit will equal nearly 10 percent of the country’s economic output. The report comes as budget and tax battles get underway among the president, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
  • One department is already cutting its budget. The Justice Department isn’t waiting for what might be coming from Congress and the White House. The Wall Street Journal reports, Justice department is taking a variety of moves. One is eliminating the FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center. That will save $8 million. Another is keeping more money from the sale of goods seized in criminal investigations. That, and giving less to local police departments, will save $120 million. ABCnews and others report Attorney General Eric Holder has announced a hiring freeze and some personnel cuts.
  • The money-strapped Postal Service is saving some green by going green. USPS says its Lean Green Teams saved the agency more than $27 million dollars in 2010. Some of that comes from recycling more than 200,000 tons of material last year, meaning the Postal Service didn’t need to pay $9 million in landfill fees. The agency also reduced energy and water use.
  • The Hispanic Council on Federal Employment hopes to increase the ranks of Hispanics in the federal government. The new group holds its first meeting February 11th at the Office of Personnel Management. GovExec reports, the main goal of the Council will be advising OPM Director John Berry on recruiting, hiring and retaining Hispanic people. A 2010 OPM report showed Hispanics made up 8 percent of the permanent federal workforce, compared to 13.9 percent in the private sector.
  • Senator Ben Cardin is ready to submit legislation that will repeal part of the federal health care reform law. The Maryland Democrat, with fellow Democrat Max Baucus of Montana, will file the bill to repeal the so-called 1099 provision. Federal News Radio talked with Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson last week, who says the provision could be a real problem for small businesses and the IRS. The provision requires businesses to submit 1099 forms to the Internal Revenue Service for all purchases above $600. Its supposed to take effect next year, but business owners, lawmakers and President Obama agree it would be a hardship for small businesses.
  • The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has finally closed the books on a hawk that spent a week living in the dome of the main reading room. Ken Knowles of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia says the Cooper’s hawk got hungry enough to be lured by some bait – two live starlings. The hawk first appeared Jan. 19. It was able to evade capture on several attempts. The hawk will be transported to the conservancy in Virginia to be examined and eventually released into the wild.

More news links

Social Security fund will be drained by 2037


Federal budget battle: Can Congress avoid a government shutdown? (CSMonitor)

White House renominates Berwick as Medicare chief

NASA honors astronauts lost from Apollo, shuttles

Show of strength urged for cyberwar (WashingtonTimes)

Utah Army base locked to solve `serious concern’

Obama seeks new path to environmental goals

FDA sees possible cancer risk with breast implants

Michelle Obama to see Army fitness, food in SC

At Belvoir, bugle blasts and chorus of complaint (WashintonPost)


Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** What does a possible government reorganization mean for government contractors? We’ll talk to Stan Soloway of the Professional Services Council.

** The Department of Veterans Affairs spends millions of dollars studying Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — nearly $25 million last year. Does VA get value for that money? GAO’s assessment is just out. We’ll talk to them.

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