Wednesday morning federal headlines – Nov. 30, 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 users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The Senate has rejected an effort to remove controversial provisions dealing with terrorist suspects from a defense bill, the Associated Press reports. The White House has threatened to veto the bill if it includes the measures. It would require all terror suspects be held in military custody. It also puts limits transferring detainees from the naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. FBI Director Robert Mueller came out against the requirement earlier this week. But lawmakers have voted to keep it. They say there is a waiver that can be filed to make exceptions and that the overall bill is a careful bipartisan effort. (Federal News Radio)
  • The government’s plan for ensuring cloud computing security has moved a step closer to reality. Sources tell Federal News Radio, OMB Director Jack Lew has signed off on the plan, known as FedRAMP. That means FedRAMP will be publicly released within the next month. It will come out as a memo and guidance document. But it could be another year before FedRAMP becomes operational. When it does, cloud computing companies can submit their products for security testing and certification. (Federal News Radio)
  • The House votes to give military people and their families an easier time through airport security, the Associated Press reports. The bill would give Homeland Security six months to develop a trusted traveler system for the armed forces. It passed unanimously and was forwarded to the Senate. Rep. Chip Cravaak (R-Minn.) is the bill’s chief sponsor. He says regular screening is too slow because men and women in uniform have medals to remove and boots to unlace. He says speeding them through security would make things faster for everyone. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Agriculture Department is preparing to resume inspecting horse meat, the Associate Press reports. Congress lifted a five-year ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption. The provision was included in the partial government funding bill President Obama signed last week. Slaughterhouses could be up and running within a month. USDA officials say they’ll find the money to inspect horse meat from existing funds. Horse meat supporters say old and infirm horses must now be shipped to Mexico or Canada for processing, where they fetch lower prices than they could in the U.S. (Federal News Radio)
  • The House has approved legislation reforming the Federal Employees Compensation Act. The bill had bipartisan support. It allows physician assistants and advanced practice nurses to certify disabilities from traumatic injuries. It also streamlines the claims process for workers injured in combat zones. And it lets the Labor Department cross-check federal workers’ earnings with the Social Security data. GovExec reports, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved a postal reform bill earlier this month that includes FECA updates. (Federal News Radio)
  • The White House is threatening to veto Republican legislation that would place greater limits on how the federal government adopts regulations, the Associated Press reports. The GOP-controlled House is set to vote on two bills that would require agencies to consider alternative regulations based on their costs and benefits and to limit the costs new regulations would place on small businesses. The Office of Management and Budget says their advisers would recommend President Obama veto both bills if they pass Congress. The budget office says the bills would hurt the ability of government agencies to protect the public, create confusion and invite lawsuits. (Federal News Radio)
  • NASA has selected 300 small business proposals to enter into negotiations for possible contract awards through the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research and the Small Business Technology Transfer programs. The two programs are designed to encourage small businesses and research institutions to engage in federal research, development and commercialization. The 300 proposals that were chosen add up to about $38 million in research funds. Some of the proposals include ways to prevent icing on planes — including drones — while they’re in flight, ways to design electronics so they can withstand the extreme temperatures in deep space and more accurate ways to measure the speed and location of spacecraft. This is just phase one for these proposals. They still have to make it through phases two and three. (NASA)