Tuesday morning federal headlines – Nov. 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 FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The Food and Drug Administration has a poor reputation, harming its ability to attract top scientific talent. That’s the main conclusion in a new report from the Partnership for Public Service. The report says scientists don’t see FDA as a place they can innovate, compared to agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. The report also says criticism from Congress and regulated industries hurts FDA recruitment and retention. Still, the report says FDA has made progress thanks to a hiring roadmap it started developing in 2010. (Partnership for Public Service)
  • Would-be presidential management fellows can spend the Thanksgiving weekend touching up their applications. That’s because they’ve been given an extra week. Applications are now due Monday, Nov. 26. Not that the process has gotten any easier. A notice on the program’s website says the multi-phase process takes patience and endurance. Last year, the fellows program received 9,000 applications. Only 630 became finalists. The class of 2013 finalists will be notified next March. Then they’ll attend a job fair in Washington. (Presidential Management Fellows)
  • Chairman Martin Dempsey says there’s good reason to ask whether the joint chiefs of staff is distracted by recent tales of misconduct by senior officers. The Pentagon has demoted a four-star general for misusing travel money and it’s put others’ careers on hold pending the results of investigations into Marine Gen. John Allen’s relationship with a Tampa socialite. But in a blog post, Demsey says: no, military leaders are not distracted because they cannot afford to be. He says they’re concerned but committed to learning and adapting. Dempsey says service members and their families’ well-being remains the chiefs’ top priority. (DoD)
  • A federal panel is recommending HIV testing for all Americans between the ages of 15 and 65. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force believes universal testing will slow the spread of AIDS. The Task Force is made up of outside experts who work through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The recommendation is open for public comment until Dec. 17. The task force says more than a million people in the United States have HIV, but 25 percent of them don’t know it. That increases the risk they can spread the disease to sexual partners. (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force)
  • Congressional leaders say they could strike a deal by Christmas to avoid sequestration. Details are emerging from that meeting Republican and Democratic leaders had Friday with President Barack Obama at the White House. Democratic staff describe a short-term fix to the National Journal. GovExec reported they said they’re banking on a bill that has already passed the Senate. It holds tax rates steady for families with less than $250,000, but the wealthy would have to pay more. They said they would work toward entitlement reform next year. Republicans have not ruled this idea out, but they said silence doesn’t mean they support it. Leaders may meet again as early as Friday. (GovExec)