Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast – February 9th

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.

  • Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is taking up the fight against the abuse of government charge cards. Grassley has introduced a bill that would require agencies to limit the kinds of things that can be purchased with the cards. It would also impose penalties for misuse. In an interview with Iowa Radio, Grassley says he’s surprised at how the cards – which are supposed to be for official expenses – end up being used to buy all sorts of personal items and services. However, Grassley also said he’s “stunned by how a small fraction of federal workers have abused the system and misused their charge cards.”
  • The Federal government’s one-stop training resource center for the Federal HR professional is launching it’s first phase. A web based platform is the new home of HR University created by The Chief Human Capital Officers Council and Office of Personnel Management. HRU will provide a wide variety of training and development resources geared toward Federal HR workers. You can find a course catalog at, a central “one-stop” clearing house of HR-related info, a career guide, and more.
  • The Pentagon’s procurement chief is expected to send a message to Wall Street today. The Wall Street Journal reports Ashton Carter will draw a line against major defense-sector mergers. The newspaper reports the Defense Department wants to discourage any potential consolidation among the larger defense contractors. Carter says the Pentagon’s main concern is maintaining competition and bolstering buying power.
  • We’re learning more about the fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Obama Administration and House Republicans are facing off over what’ll happen next to the two housing finance companies. The New York Times is reporting that the White House will issue a report with a range of options, but won’t state a preference. It does include a plan to wind down the two companies. One option — don’t create any federal replacement for Fannie and Freddie, but let the private markets provide the mortgages. Another option would be to continue some smaller form for federally-backed mortgages.
  • The Obama administration rolls out a $53 billion dollar plan for high speed rail. Vice President Joe Biden detailed the plan from the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. The former Delaware Senator was a regular Amtrak commuter. The the money would be spent over six years. The administration has outlined a long-term goal of bringing high speed rail to 80 percent of the nation’s population. Republican governors and members of Congress have questioned the need for that level of rail spending.
  • The Illinois company that bought part of Xe Services is shutting down part of their operations. AAR Corp bought the aviation subsidiary of Xe – formerly known as Blackwater – last spring. The Triangle Business Journal reports that AAR has sent a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Most of the 260 employees of Aviation Worldwide Services were offered job transfers to other facilities. The division’s three subsidiaries – Presidential Airways, STI Aviation, and AirQuest – have 58 aircraft, many of which are being used under U.S. government contract in Afghanistan.

More news links

US commander: Special operations forces stressed


House rejects extensions of Patriot Act provisions

Senators: Punish misusers of body scanner images

Navy set training for don’t ask, don’t tell repeal

Global warming fix heats up hearing with EPA chief

Families remember 9 killed in submarine collision

Navy employee, Ga. contractor accused of kickbacks

ICE reviewing more Chipotle workers’ documents


Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** Many professions have guiding principles — standards of practice. Not public sector procurement. Until now. We’ll talk to the group creating the principles and practices of public procurement.

** And you’re being pressed for greater efficiency, openness, and responsiveness. But do you have the tools you need to get that done? Forrester Research says maybe not.

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