Monday morning federal headlines – April 30, 2012

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

  • A House panel has approved a measure to require agencies to list every program they run. The House Oversight Committee is calling it the “Taxpayers Right to Know Act.” If it becomes law, then agency heads would also have to determine each program’s cost, the number of employees assigned to it and the number of people it serves. Supporters say it’s all an effort to pinpoint programs that are redundant or overlap with other ones. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has introduced a similar bill in that chamber. He said the measure would help lawmakers set “common sense priorities.” The bill follows a Government Accountability Office report that found the government wastes billions of dollars a year on overlapping or fragmented programs. (
  • The Postal Service still faces big hurdles in its struggle to regain financial stability. The Senate passed a comprehensive reform bill last week, but it’s not to everyone’s liking. A House panel has approved a different measure. Its backers said the Senate bill made it too difficult to shutter post offices. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants to create a commission to close postal facilities nationwide that would be similar to the military base closure process known as BRAC. Pressure is on for lawmakers to reach agreement quickly. The Postal Service said it will start closing thousands of post offices on May 15 if lawmakers fail to act. (Federal News Radio)
  • The White House said Secret Service shenanigans on a presidential foreign trip didn’t cause a security breach. Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan spoke on CNN’s State of the Nation. Brennan said the disciplinary actions taken against the officers showed the Secret Service won’t let potential threats penetrate the president’s security shield. So far, eight officers have been fired and three disciplined. During the set-up before the president’s arrival in Colombia, the agents brought prostitutes into their hotel rooms. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service awarded six firms a place on a blanket purchase agreement for IT services. The BPA is worth a potential $150 million over five years. The vendors will provide IT support, web development and building energy systems support. Large company winners are SRA International and Unisys. Small awardees are AEEC, Comtech, Data Base Connection and Enterprise Resource Planned Systems International. The contract is open to all Public Buildings Service offices. (Federal News Radio)
  • A House Committee is preparing a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder. An official of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee told the Associated Press the final decision to issue it hasn’t been made. At issue is the committee’s desire for Justice Department paperwork connected to Operation Fast and Furious. The Justice Department said it’s already sent over more then 7,000 pages. Fast and Furious was a failed attempt at tracing gunrunning through the Mexican drug underground. (Associated Press)
  • The Army is trying to protect one of its most sacred institutions against social media. The next edition of its social media handbook will direct troops not to tell a fallen soldier’s family that their loved one has been killed, as tempting as it may be to get the word out immediately through Facebook. Army officials said it’s best to follow commanders and let the service’s traditional process run its course. They told the Army Times that by sending soldiers to notify families in person, they’re setting the right tone and letting the recipients of the bad news “catch their breath.” They said the Army hasn’t had a big problem with soldiers posting news about their comrades’ deaths, but it has happened. (USA Today)
  • There’s good and bad news about the federal hiring site It’s getting lackluster reviews from the public, six months after the Office of Personnel Management’s leader said the site had pulled out of a ‘death spiral’. It ranks fourth out of five federal career sites in a customer-satisfaction index assembled by ForeSee. The company said Americans prefer the CIA and State Department’s recruitment websites and the Labor Department’s job listings. Federal Computer Week reported that USA Jobs got better reviews last year when Monster Government Solutions ran it. But it scored higher than one other federal jobs site: Feds Hire Vets, a recruitment site for veterans looking for federal jobs also run by OPM.