Tuesday morning federal headlines – Dec. 18, 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.

  • Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) will become South Carolina’s newest senator. Scott was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley to replace Jim DeMint, who resigned to join the Heritage Foundation. Scott will be the first black Republican senator from the South since Reconstruction, and only the fourth black Republican ever in the Senate. He’ll be sworn in Jan. 3. Scott won his House seat in 2010 with 65 percent of the vote. (Federal News Radio)
  • It’s not too late to donate to the Combined Federal Campaign. The Office of Personnel Management is extending the workplace fundraiser through the end of the year. It was supposed to end Saturday, but CFC’s nationwide drive fell short of its targets. So far, federal workers in our area have pledged 80 percent of the $62 million goal. The local federal coordinating committee vice-chairman told Federal News Radio last month that emergency fundraisers for Sandy victims had given the CFC unexpected competition. (CFC)
  • President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) may be closing in on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. It’s one sure to make federal retirees frown. The White House’s new proposal includes a measure that could reduce future cost-of-living adjustments for federal and military retirees and anyone who gets Social Security. Payments could shrink by 0.3 percent each year. Things are far from certain. The White House won’t describe this proposal as the president’s final offer. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Social Security Administration is renewing a data matching program with the Office of Personnel Management. It wants to continue to verify eligibility of federal retirees who apply for the Extra Help Medicare prescription drug plan. The current computer matching agreement expires Jan. 13. Renewal requires congressional approval and notice in the Federal Register. In its notice, Social Security estimates records of 25,000 new or changed annuitants from OPM’s database will be matched against 65 million Social Security records. OPM supplies names, Social Security numbers, civil service claim numbers and benefits information on retirees who apply for Extra Help. (SSA)
  • The Senate has lost one of its longest serving members. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) died yesterday at 88. He first came to Washington as a member of the House in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state. Inouye was born in Honolulu and was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress. He was elected to the Senate in 1963, He won re-election to a ninth term in 2010, receiving 75 percent of the vote. Inouye was a World War II medal of honor recipient. He joined the famed Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He lost his right arm from a grenade explosion in Italy. Inouye turned down an offer to be Hubert Humphrey’s running mate in the 1968 presidential race. His reported last word was “aloha.” (Federal News Radio)
  • Sources tell the Associated Press: President Barack Obama could nominate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be the next Secretary of State this week. Kerry chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, served in the Vietnam War and was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004. Senators say his confirmation would go smoothly. Current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she will retire early next year. (Federal News Radio)