Wednesday morning federal headlines – June 20, 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.

  • House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he would not call off a vote on whether to hold the attorney general in contempt. The committee has scheduled what is likely to be a bitterly partisan meeting for today at 10 a.m. Attorney General Eric Holder met with Issa yesterday, but the last-ditch effort to find agreement failed. The meeting lasted about 20 minutes. Issa said Holder refused to hand over certain documents that could reveal how much agency officials knew about Operation Fast and Furious, an Alcohol-Tobacco-and-Firearms guntracking program that began under the Bush administration. It went wrong and led to the death of a border patrol agent. (Federal News Radio)
  • Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) is telling the General Services Administration it’s “not good enough.” GSA invited Mica and other lawmakers to the Georgetown West Heating Plant in Washington yesterday for an update on its sale of excess federal property. The heating plant is the latest property GSA is cutting loose to save money. It said it was on track to save $8 billion by disposing of excess property. But Mica said that was small potatoes compared to what GSA needed to sell. He was quoted in the Federal Times as saying:”If you think we came here to embarrass GSA, then you are right on target.” (Federal Times)
  • Congress may be stepping into the ongoing sexual assault scandal at Lackland Air Force Base. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) called for a hearing by the House Armed Services Committee. So far, 30 instructors have been suspended or dismissed and four instructors have been charged with having inappropriate relationships with trainees. Staff Sgt. Luis Walker is charged with sexually assaulting 10 students. Federal News Radio will talk to Speier about the scandal later this week. (Federal News Radio)
  • House and Senate leaders are working around the clock to try to keep the transportation bill alive. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) held a closed-door meeting Tuesday evening to try to smooth out the sticking points. Republicans want to ease environmental regulations to speed up construction projects. Democrats want to give states more flexibility on how to spend federal aid. The Senate passed a transportation bill earlier this year. The House failed to pass its own version of the bill. (Federal News Radio)
  • In the months leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the CIA unit responsible for tracking down Osama bin Laden complained that it was running out of money, according to new declassified documents released by the CIA. Dated between 1992 and 2004, the heavily redacted documents don’t reveal what the U.S. knew about the 9/11 plot before it happened, but they do show that CIA agents doubted that bin Laden could be caught even before he oversaw the deadliest attack on U.S. soil. The privately owned National Security Archive obtained the documents through Freedom of Information Act requests. (AP WIRE)