Wednesday morning federal headlines – Oct. 17, 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 crucial information technology workforce at the Internal Revenue Service needs more attention. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said the agency should create an inventory of needed skills and compare that with the people it has. The IG also said the IRS should look ahead a few years to see what skills it will need down the road. The latest report shows the IRS has about 7,000 IT workers. They are aided by 2,000 contractors. IRS management concurred with the report. It’s developing an IT workforce tool to collect information. (Federal News Radio)
  • Lawmakers are calling for a criminal probe of the pharmacy that sold a steroid linked to a nationwide meningitis outbreak. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said the Drug Enforcement Agency should step in. He said products sold by the New England Compounding Center fall under the DEA’s jurisdiction., Meanwhile, Food and Drug Administration investigators have raided the Massachusetts company. At least 16 people have died from meningitis linked to the contaminated drug. (Rep. Ed Markey)
  • Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has issued a new report on what he said was wasteful, frivolous federal spending. Coburn’s Wastebook 2012 details 100 projects he said wasted $18 billion. Coburn cited big items, such as a failure to use more strategic sourcing that could save tens of billions. And he included some humorous ones, like a National Science Foundation grant to build a robotic squirrel. Coburn doesn’t absolve Congress. He said it let down taxpayers this year by passing only 61 bills. That compares with what President Truman called the do-nothing 80th Congress of the late 1940s. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Barack Obama says he was responsible for any security lapses that led to the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Referring to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, he said: “She works for me.” Obama made the remarks in a heated debate last night with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Earlier, Clinton had taken responsibility. She said requests for embassy and consulate security go to the State Department not the White House. (Federal News Radio)