Tuesday morning federal headlines – Nov. 8, 2011

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.

  • China is rejecting claims it failed to prevent a flood of counterfeit parts from being installed on U.S. weapons systems. The Senate Armed Services Committee says it found 1,800 cases involving more than 1 million counterfeit parts since 2009, and it claims that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Committee investigators say China was identified five times more frequently than any other other country as a source of counterfeits. China says that it is committed to fighting fake products and followed all procedures correctly. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Interior Department has designated a new national park, according to a department press release. Located in Paterson, N.J., the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park becomes the 397th national park. The park surrounds a 77-foot waterfall that powered 18th century industrial mills in New Jersey. In dedicating the park, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was joined by both New Jersey senators and several local officials. (Interior Department)
  • The United States has a brand, according to a Commerce Department press release. The brand is a new Commerce Department effort to promote travel to the U.S. The Corporation for Travel Promotion is a public-private partnership created by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. It now has a new name, Brand USA. Commerce Secretary John Bryson hails the move as a way to get more foreign visitors to spend money and create jobs. Brand USA’s website shows iconic pictures like baseball games and Western scenery. The company’s board of directors includes resort and travel executives and state tourism officials. (Commerce Department)
  • Three senators ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate federal contract awards to veteran-owned businesses. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, says veteran entrepreneurs face too many delays and red tape dealing with agencies. Her letter was co-signed by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Veteran businesses may also face competition from companies not owned by veterans, but claiming to be. Brian Miller, the GSA’s inspector general, tells lawmakers that self-certifying can lead to phony claims about ownership. (Federal News Radio)
  • Donald Trump and Hilton hotels are duking it out over Washington, D.C.’s Old Post Office, according to the Associated Press. One of the most prominent buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue could become a luxury Waldorf Astoria hotel under a proposal from Hilton Worldwide. They want to transform the Old Post Office and its 315-foot clock tower into a luxury property with 245 rooms, four restaurants and high-end shops. More than six companies have made proposals, including Donald Trump’s hotel business. The building dates back to 1899. It’s located between the White House and the Capitol and is on the National Register of Historic Places. For years, it has housed a handful of government offices and a food court for tourists. The government deemed the building under-used and expects to select a redevelopment option by Nov. 17.
  • Bechtel will receive $.6.5 million from Virginia, reported the Washington Business Journal. In exchange, Bechtel is moving 625 jobs to Reston Town Center and will invest $18 million in the Commonwealth. Bechtel has decided to move its Global Operations, Government Services and civil business units to Reston from Frederick, Md. The announcement comes three weeks after Bechtel agreed to keep 1,200 employees in Frederick in return for a $9.5 million conditional loan from Maryland. (Washington Business Journal)
  • The White House is launching a number of initiatives this week to get veterans back to work. It debuts the Veterans Job Bank, a list of job postings from companies looking to hire veterans. Vets can also download a Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services, including six months of personalized case management at more than 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers across the country. And the Labor Department has launched “‘My Next Move for Veterans,” a new online resource that matches military occupation codes and with civilian jobs needing the same qualifications. The site also include information about salaries, apprenticeships and other education and training programs. (Federal News Radio)