Friday morning federal headlines – Jan. 27, 2012

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive host Tom Temin discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The Obama administration has proposed cutting the defense budget by 1 percent next year. DoD would make do with a smaller Army and Marine Corps. Some big ticket weapons systems would be delayed, and the Pentagon would request another round of base closures. In all, the president is asking for a base budget of $525 billion. Before 9/11, the base budget was about $300 billion. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined the plan yesterday. (Federal News Radio)
  • More of your agency’s once-classified records are making it into the open. The National Declassification Center says it’s released 23 million pages since it started two years ago. The center says that’s most of the backlog its been working to clear. Leaders credit better processes and inter-agency cooperation. (
  • The Senate has approved a temporary extension of Federal Aviation Administration programs. That will keep the agency open until Feb. 17. House and Senate conferees still have to work out a final version of a long term authorization. But an agreement between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will help clear the way. At issue were rules governing formation of unions in the aviation industry. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Agriculture Department launches a collaboration to help restore North America honey bee populations. A Conservation Innovation Grant brings together researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the Xerces Society. Together with USDA scientists, the group will test flower seed mixtures. The goal? To find a seed mix that produces flowers bees like. Then farmers would plant the seed mix to help ensure pollinators have the proper diet. North America is home to 4,000 species of bees. Some of them will get to sample their new diet this summer. (USDA)
  • Agencies are struggling to keep up with a deluge of data being created every day by federal information sharing. Defense Information Agency deputy director David Shedd says the government doesn’t have the right IT to sift through it all. Kshemendra Paul, the program manager for the Information Sharing Environment, tells Federal News Radio, data standards and tagging are key to making data more searchable. (Federal News Radio)
  • Another company receiving a federal green-energy grant has gone bankrupt. Ener1 made electric car batteries. It received $118 billion in stimulus money in 2009. Yesterday, it filed for Chapter 11 protection. Last year, solar panel maker Soluyndra shut its doors after receiving a half billion dollars in grants. Beacon Power, a Massachusetts storage company, failed after receiving $43 million in taxpayer money. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Justice Department is following through on President Obama’s promise to go after housing fraudsters. A new task force brings together 55 prosecutors and federal and state investigators to focus on what went wrong in mortgage-based securities. The new unit will be co-chaired New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will give more details about the plan later today. (Federal News Radio)
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is planning her exit. She wants to step down, if President Obama wins a second term. Clinton says she’s tired and wants to get off the high wire of American politics. But she plans to wait until the president finds a replacement, if he wins the election. (Federal News Radio)
  • The FBI joins the club of agencies scrubbing social networks for intelligence information. The bureau is looking for companies that can help it build an program that can monitor sites. The system would be able to pick out key words based on breaking events or emerging threats. The Homeland Security Department is working on a similar project. (Information Week)