Friday morning federal headlines – June 8, 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.

  • The General Services Administration is cleaning house. It plans to rid its schedules of outdated technology. This could be the last chance agencies have to buy a typewriter, for example. GSA said there are about 8,000 contracts for things that are obsolete or unpopular. It will take trophies, commemorative and promotional items off the schedules too. The agency estimated it would save $24 million. It is also looking at more than 19,000 contracts to see which industries are over-saturated. (Federal News Radio)
  • The National Weather Service said it may furlough employees to close a budget gap. Each of its 5,000 workers would have to take 13 days off without pay this summer. The news came as hurricane season kicked off. The National Weather Service Employees Organization said staff members were paying for their leaders’ mistakes. The agency faces a $36 million shortfall. An internal investigation found the agency had wrongly shifted millions of dollars between programs.That led to the resignation of director Jack Hayes last month. (Federal News Radio)
  • The FBI is investigating the recent security breach at Linked In, according to Reuters. The social network said cyber thieves stole 6.4 million member passwords. It does not know of any accounts that were hijacked, however. The company said the investigation is in the early stages. The FBI is not commenting. Meanwhile, Linked In said it has boosted security. It is disabling the passwords that had been compromised. Users will have to reset them. Linked In attracts mostly professionals and job seekers. (Reuters)
  • Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) has called for the immediate removal of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. In a letter to Postal Service Board of Governors, Higgins accused Donahoe of “a complete lack of transparency and accountability.” Higgins is angry about the planned closure of several facilities in his district in western New York. He said there was lack of public engagement and cooperation in the process. He said he doubted Donahoe’s ability to guide the Postal Service through its current challenges. (Postal News)
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development is sitting on nearly $5 billion in Hurricane Katrina recovery funds. The Homeland Security Department hasn’t spent about a quarter of the disaster grant money it received. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said those were just two examples of the billions of allocated dollars agencies fail to spend. In a , he said the money went unspent because of bad laws and red tape. But he also blamed the recipients of federal dollars. He cited news reports from Michigan that said inertia and poor local planning had led communities to sit on the money they received. (Federal News Radio)
  • There may be a lot of perks to being a member of Congress, but when it comes to air travel, they’re just like us. House lawmakers gave an earful to the chief of the Transportation Security Administration on Thursday. Among their complaints were bans on carrying water bottles and razors on board and body searches of the very young and old. TSA chief John Pistole said he understood the complaints, and the agency recently decided to allow people older than 75 and younger than 12 to keep their shoes on during security checks. But when Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) suggested that passengers should be able to protect themselves with pocket knives, Pistole laid down the law saying that was a non-starter. (Federal News Radio)
  • The House passed its $46 billion budget to fund Homeland Security on Thursday. Although Homeland Security programs generally enjoy bipartisan support, this bill passed along unusually partisan lines. This after several non-security related riders were added and after President Barack Obama threatened a veto. Those riders included a provision that would ban illegal immigrant detainees from seeking abortions, except in the case of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger. The bill does not include the 0.5 percent pay raise President Obama requested for all civilian federal employees. It is not expected to pass the Senate in its current form. (Federal News Radio)