Thursday morning federal headlines – June 7, 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.

  • Federal unions can’t bargain for pay or benefits, but maybe they can help you keep your job. The courts are saying as more agencies offer buyouts and consider those mass-layoffs known as reductions-in-force, they’ll have to talk more with their unions. The American Federation of Government Employees sued the Air Force. The service had planned to cut competitive-service jobs but save those it had given to veterans. The union protested. It said some of those vets had not been in their jobs for as long as their colleagues. The D.C. Circuit Appeals Court said the union has a right to negotiate those terms. (AFGE)
  • Cybersecurity would get a modest boost, but your paycheck would not under a bill approved by a House committee. The measure would fund the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal 2013 and rearrange some of its priorities. It might not get anywhere. The White House has threatened a veto. The bill breaks with spending limits set by last summer’s Budget Control Act and it does not give DHS the money it needs to move its headquarters to the St. Elizabeth’s in Washington, D.C., and it does not give civilian employees the 0.5 percent raise President Obama had proposed. (Federal News Radio)
  • The House passed the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2013 on Tuesday. The bill passed 255 to 165, mostly along party lines. It called for several controversial moves, including cutting green energy programs and restarting the nuclear waste management program at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. There was also a provision that would stop loan guarantee restructuring like that seen with Solyndra, the now-defunct solar energy company. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is not expected to pass. (Federal News Radio)
  • American Federation of Government Employees president John Gage announced his retirement only yesterday, but two frontrunners have already emerged to replace him. Federal Times reported that Gage’s right-hand man, J. David Cox, would compete against Alex Bastani from AFGE’s Local 12 for the top spot. Bastani narrowly lost the last election for union president. During that campaign, he criticized Gage for not pushing pay parity with the military. The election will be held in August. (Federal Times)
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a plan to cap federal reimbursement salaries for defense contractors, GovExec reported. The cap would be set at $230,000, the same salary as the vice president of the United States. Under current law, defense contractors can be reimbursed up to $760,000. The cap, which is set as an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, has received bipartisan support. (GovExec)
  • The WikiLeaks trial is set to resume. Defense attorneys plan to call State Department workers as witnesses. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning is charged with the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history when he gave thousands of classified documents to the website. His attorneys want to know how much damage that leak did to U.S. foreign relations. Manning worked as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010. (Federal News Radio)