Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast – January 26th

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.

  • President Obama has proposed a major government reorganization that he says will merge and consolidate federal agencies. Mr. Obama outlined his idea during his State of the Union address last night. The president said he wants to create a more efficient government by cracking down on overlap and redundancy. He also proposed a five year freeze on annual domestic spending that he says could reduce the deficit by $400 billion over the next 10 years. An official proposal will be submitted to Congress, and Mr. Obama says his administration will push for its passage.
  • The Thrift Savings Plan board is investing in a $1.5 million system-testing program after an error led to $58-million in improper payments. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board will use the program to conduct full scale tests of their payment systems. Federal Times reports, a coding mistake likely caused the miscalculation. So far the Board has recovered 6,200 of the improper payments.
  • Some agencies are leaving the lights on and it’s racking up a big price tag. reports that departments like Agriculture, Commerce and Energy among several others, have been leaving the light on in their buildings all night. The average pricetag they discovered, was about $200,000 in utility bills. A Labor Department utility bill topped $1 million last July.
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has called for replacing the Environmental Protection Agency with a new, more streamlined agency. In an AP interview, Gingrich says the EPA has become a slow-moving bureaucracy that stifles innovation and hurts business. And one that focuses too much on regulation and litigation. He says the new organization would work more closely with business and be more aggressive in using science and technology. Gingrich thinks the Environmental Solution Agency should resemble the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation.
  • The Federal Communications Commission is expected to grant a waiver today to Lightsquared. The Washington Post reports the firm would be able to create a mobile network with broadband service based on satellite signals. FCC officials say this is one way to encourage competition in a market that is dominated by Verizon and AT&T. Among the plan’s critics are operators of Global Positioning Systems and federal agencies. They argue that Lightsquare could knock out their signals.

More news links

Report: Bush administration broke law in ’06 races


Blackwater suit tossed 7 years after grisly deaths

What you might not know about the State of Union (CNN)


Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** We watched the State of the Union. Well, we’ll try to make sense of what it all means for you. We’ll have insights from Donald Kettl of the University of Maryland and Senior Correspondent Mike Causey.

** And Representative Gerry Connelly is overseeing procurement and technology on a new House Oversight subcommittee. What does he hope to accomplish? We’ll ask him!

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