Friday morning federal headlines – Jan. 11, 2013

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.

  • A new law makes permanent some recent attempts to cut down on agencies’ payment mistakes. President Barack Obama signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 yesterday. It requires the White House to establish targets for agencies’ riskiest programs. Agencies have to share data and check payments against several governmentwide databases to make sure the recipients are still alive and not on any blacklist. The government considers 4 percent of payments made last year to be improper. (Congress)
  • The FCC is demanding changes after last summer’s Derecho storm knocked out 911 emergency service in the Mid-Atlantic. It plans to issue new rules to make sure service providers maintain their networks and communicate with local authorities during outages. A new commission report blames carriers like Verizon for sloppy mistakes during the July storm. It says greater federal oversight could prevent similar failures in the future. During the storm, at least 17, 911 call centers lost service. Fairfax County, Va., estimates it missed 1,900 emergency calls. (FCC)
  • The National Institutes of Health is looking to hire an executive to oversee the agency’s big data. Eric Green has been named to the job temporarily. He’s director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. The title position will be associate director of NIH for Data Science. The responsibilities will include finding new uses for the large stores of research data generated by genomics, imaging and electronic health records. NIH says Green has been at the forefront of work to map certain complex cell genomes. (NIH)
  • Virginia and Maryland are duking it out over the next FBI headquarters. Virginia lawmakers told our sister station WTOP they have the edge. They say it would be so easy for the 12,000 FBII workers to zip down to the bureau’s lab at Quantico or the Pentagon. But in Maryland, both Prince Georges and Montgomery counties are interested in hosting the bureau. The FBI is looking for at least 55 acres with a large buffer area for security. But it also needs to be close to major roads and public transit. (WTOP)
  • The Justice Department has implicated a second agency in last year’s Secret Service prostitution scandal. NBC News first reported the allegations came in a summary report by the Justice inspector General. It says a Drug Enforcement Administration agent arranged to hire a prostitute for a Secret Service agent in Colombia. The incident took place just before a visit to that country by President Obama. Earlier, the Homeland Security Department IG said 13 Secret Service agents had sexual encounters while in Cartagena. A hotel hallway scuffle with one of the women caused the incident to become public. The Justice IG sent its summary to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered a comprehensive review of critical systems in the Boeing 787 aircraft. A fire and fuel leak earlier this week has prompted the review. The 787, also known as the “Dreamliner,” was delayed for nearly four years due to technical problems. The FAA will hold a press conference about the review later this morning. (Federal News Radio)