Thursday morning federal headlines – Nov. 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.

  • President Barack Obama, fresh from his re-election win, telephoned leaders in Congress. He wants to work out a legislative agenda for what’s left of the year. Obama called House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. A spokesman said Obama reiterated his commitment to finding bipartisan solutions to reduce the deficit. (Federal News Radio)
  • Now that President Barack Obama has won a second term, speculation begins on the next foreign-policy leaders. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice had been a favorite to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is retiring. But Rice might not get confirmed by the Senate. Republicans have criticized her for suggesting an angry, spontaneous mob attacked the Benghazi consulate in September. Obama could make Rice his National Security Advisor without going to the Senate. The Associated Press writes other contenders for the top State position include the current National Security Advisor Tom Donilon or, in a spirit of bipartisanship, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel or former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. (Federal News Radio)
  • One big department is looking beyond the era of government-supplied computers for its employees. The Agriculture Department is laying the groundwork for BYOD, or bring your own device. It may be a generational thing. Charles McClam, USDA’s deputy chief information officer, says some recent retirements in his shop has given it the opening to look closer at mobile technologies. He envisions setting a special mobile division to oversee BYOD. McClam isn’t alone. NASA Goddard CIO Adrian Gardner says his BYOD policy will be modeled after the one at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (Federal News Radio)
  • The government has handed out more than $7 billion to help health care providers buy electronic records systems. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services figures show the grants are disbursed throughout the United States. The most money went to providers in California, Florida and Texas. Together those states received more than $2 billion. The money was appropriated in the 2009 stimulus bill. Hospitals and doctors must prove they are using the records systems properly in order to qualify. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
  • The CIA said it likes going to Arab-American festivals and considered them vital to helping it recruit a diverse workforce. In a press release, the agency said it regularly sets up booths at festivals in Arizona and California that attract thousands of families. Officers greeted the public in Arabic, Armenian, Punjabi and Urdu. They also gave talks about the myths and realities of the CIA. The Los-Angeles Times reported last year the agency withdrew staff from an Arab-American festival amid controversy over its founder’s relations with the Syrian government of Bashar Assad. (CIA)
  • FEMA said it was ready to deploy more resources to the Northeast in light of a new storm. The agency already had more than 5,100 people working in areas hard-hit by last week’s Hurricane Sandy. With a new coastal storm predicted to last until later today, FEMA said its senior-level experts are standing by. They’re working alongside New York and New Jersey emergency managers to ensure clear lines of communication. The agency has brought additional food, water, blankets and generators to distribution points. Meanwhile, tt has increased the amount of rental aid by a quarter. That helps storm survivors pay for shelter and some utilities. (FEMA)