Tuesday morning federal headlines – Oct. 11

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 FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The Senate appears headed towards rejection of President Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan. However, the White House will speed up environmental and other regulatory approvals for 14 public works projects across the country, anyway. The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has also issued a series of policy overhauls it thinks will create jobs, including increased spending on road and bridges and loosening immigration policies. The council is also proposing a rollback in regulations and a more business-friendly tax system. The 27-member council is chaired by Jeff Immelt, the chairman and CEO of General Electric. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AOL co-founder Steve Case and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also serve. (Federal News Radio)
  • At least one agency is taking seriously the fact that employees didn’t think it’s a good place to work. The Broadcasting Board of Governors found about half its workers gave it a rating of “poor” last year. This year,the board was rated most-improved in the annual rankings compiled by the Partnership for Public Service. The turnaround occurred after managers appealed to their employees for help. The result was more training, an awards program, and improved safety for night workers. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Special Counsel is coming to the defense of two federal whistleblowers. Franz Gayl, a science and technology advisor to the Marines, blew the whistle on the Marine Corps for failing to provide Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to troops in Iraq. Paul Hardy, a regulatory review officer for the Public Health Service, led a team of scientists who found radiation exposure problems with a breast cancer screening device. When the FDA planned to approve it over his team’s recommendations, Hardy went to the media with his findings. Both men were indefinitely suspended without pay. OSC filed with the Merit Systems Protection Board to have them reinstated. Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said in a statement the men raised important safety concerns and issues of law. (OSC)
  • The Defense Department is making progress with its supply-chain, but still has to improve the way it distributes supplies and equipment to warfighters in Afghanistan, according to a new Government Accountability Office. GAO took a look at U.S. Transportation Command, or TRANSCOM, which has created a process for oversight. But it still does not have full oversight of the distribution to Afghanistan. GAO made 15 recommendations to help DoD clarify its distribution policy including: creating a radio-frequency to identify and track all cargo movements and better documenting performance better. (GAO
  • The Homeland Security Department needs to improve oversight of its data systems that support counterterrorism, according to a new audit by the Government Accountability Office. GAO took a look at data-mining techniques by DHS, which are used to extract useful information from volumes of data. It’s one of the types of analysis DHS uses to help prevent terrorist threats. But GAO said, while useful, the technique raises privacy concerns. Auditors want DHS to close gaps in the way they evaluate the effectiveness and privacy protections of their data-mining systems. (GAO)
  • If you work in or around Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington, D.C., expect the recent protests to last for months. United States Park Police have offered the protestors a four-month extension to their demonstration permit. Protesters, who say they’re against war and corporate greed, have accepted the offer. Protesters, who have already spent four days camping at Freedom Plaza, must adhere to a stipulation of the permit: Protestors have to make room for other uses of the Plaza. One upcoming event is the dedication of the Martin Luther King memorial. (WTOP)
  • The National Archives will open its brand-new personnel records facility in St. Louis, Mo., this weekend. The 2.3 million square foot records center opens its door on Saturday. It already holds more than 100 million military and civilian personnel files for vets and former federal workers, who left government before 1973. Inside you’ll find state-of-the-art preservation laboratories, public research rooms and meeting spaces. Visitors can also get copies of their own personnel files. The agency is celebrating the opening by making putting some famous records on display, including military records for Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix and Army General George Patton.