Monday Morning Federal Newscast – February 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 users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The House has passed a 2011 spending bill Saturday morning. It would fund the government after the current continuing resolution expires March 4. The bill includes $61 billion in cuts put forth by Republicans. It passed on a party-line vote. The bill now makes its way to the Senate where Democratic leaders say they are working behind the scenes on a proposal that would keep government running. Both houses are recessed until February 28th.
  • One bit of good news for federal workers. The proposed spending bill contains no amendments further curtailing federal pay or benefits. Amendments proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) to eliminate step increases for federal employees were voted down. Rep. Todd Rokita’s (R-Ind.) proposals to eliminate other pay raises and prevent feds from doing union activities on the job did not come up for a vote. The Washington Post reports other GOP proposals to trim the federal workforce by attrition and to extend President Obama’s two-year pay freeze for federal workers were not offered as amendments to the spending bill.
  • A top aide for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says a government shutdown is more likely than not. Sources tell Politico that Pelosi’s floor director, Jerry Hartz, said a government shutdown is a real possibility. He made the comment at a regular meeting of House Democratic aides. House GOP leaders have said if their spending bill fails to pass the Senate and the current continuing resolution expires on March 4th, they will refuse to continue funding the government at current levels.
  • It is a brand-new agency, and its getting a brand-new home. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created in July by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Its new headquarters will be on G Street in Northwest, the current home of the Office of Thrift Supervision, which will be rolled into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency this summer. The Washington Business Journal reports the planning and timing for the 300-thousand square foot building is still up in the air. The building will go through major renovations, including a possible public space on the first floor for educational programs, displays, and interactive kiosks.
  • The Defense Logistics Agency wants to use chemical-eating bugs to help clean up the area around the Defense Supply Center in Richmond. An agency study on using the micro-organisms to restore and protect the environment at the site was developed with support from the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality. Officials say the site was a firefighting training area in the 1960. Flammable liquid chemicals and petroleum products were used during exercises. The bugs will help the contaminants decompose, and render them harmless.
  • Several agencies paid a total of $20 million for security software that turned out to be fake. The New York Times reports the CIA realized the software didn’t work as early as 2003, but the word didn’t get around. The Air Force and Special Operations Command both purchased it later. The software was proffered by California programmer Dennis Montgomery. He claimed it could pick out patterns in pictures and text to predict terror attacks. No charges have been brought against Montgomery in connection with the software. He is about to go on trial in Las Vegas for tying to pass bad checks.

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