Monday morning federal headlines – Feb. 13, 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 will formally reveal its 2013 budget request. It will include a nod to last year’s budget control act with its automatic, across-the-board cuts. But it will also ask for hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure construction funds and increases in education spending. Federal agencies can expect tight operating funds. It renews calls for higher taxes on the wealthy. And it anticipates a deficit of $1.3 trillion. (Federal News Radio)
  • One of the biggest federal unions plans to march on Capitol Hill this week. The Interior Department is going to redo the “drum major” quote on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington. The current paraphrased quote — called “misleading” by some — will go down. The full text from King’s 1968 sermon in Atlanta will go up. The National Park Service says it is exploring a range of funding options. But it aims to finish the work by next January. It will have to remove some of the granite stone upon which the current text is etched. Agencies leaders met with the King family earlier this month. (Interior Department)
  • President Obama will ask for $26 million to reorganize trade-related federal agencies. The money is included in the 2013 budget request coming out this morning. The money would create a special trade enforcement center. The center would focus on China and other nations that might be using unfair trade practices such as intellectual property theft. The president will also ask Congress for $13 million for Customs and Border Protection to improve its ability to stop pirated and counterfeit products. FDA would get $10 million more for inspection staff in China. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Farm Service Agency launches new ways to push commodity and loan information to farmers. The USDA agency has configured its web information for smart phones and tablets. And it is starting a news service for critical program information using GovDelivery subscriptions. Michael Scuse, acting under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, says farmers will be able to access data such as posted county prices and loan deficiency payment rates on their smart phones. The effort is part of USDA’s Blueprint for Stronger Service, introduced in January by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. (USDA)
  • The Government Accountability Office is adopting widely-used rules on suspension, debarment and ineligibility of contractors. Under Federal Acquisition Regulations — or FAR &mdash GAO won’t work with contractors that other agencies have put on an “excluded party” list for bad behavior. The watchdog agency also will contribute to the list. As a legislative-branch agency, GAO doesn’t have to comply with FAR. GAO announced its plan back in September and received only positive responses. It is publishing a policy statement in the Federal Register today. (GAO)