Monday morning federal headlines – Jan. 14, 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.

  • The Office of Personnel Management has recommended a sweeping overhaul of the Combined Federal Campaign. The CFC has had declining participation and fundraising levels for several years. Federal Times reports, OPM is recommending eliminating local chapters in favor of larger, regional ones. It would alter the open season schedule and require charities to pay a non-refundable fee to cover overhead. OPM has sent a detailed plan to the White House for approval. If the administration approves, the proposal gets listed in the federal register for comment. Separately, Federal Times reports the Greater Washington CFC fired its contractor, Global Impact and has hired EarthShare to run the 2013 campaign. (Federal Times)
  • Chalk up one for federal employee unions. The American Federation of Government Employees is claiming victory at the Sacramento Airport. A year of lobbying has convinced the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to revoke its approval of a contractor to do passenger screening. The work will remain with federal employees. Transportation Security Administration screeners are represented nationwide by AFGE. The union president, J. David Cox, says the county’s plan to privatize screening was shortsighted. The Flight Attendants Union aided the AFGE effort. (AFGE)
  • Senate Democrats say President Barack Obama should not have to wait for Congress to pass a bill raising the federal debt limit. The government could run out of cash as early as Feb. 15. In a letter, the Democrats write that Obama should take any lawful steps to make sure the country pays its debts. The 14th Amendment lets the president act without congressional approval. But the White House has resisted. Officials there say Congress needs to do its job. congressional Republicans want to see spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. (Federal News Radio)
  • An immediate congressional priority is about to turn into a battleground. The $50 billion bill to help victims of Hurricane Sandy could be a proxy for future budget battles. Conservatives and watchdog groups are pointing out, lots of the money in the bill has nothing to do with Sandy. There’s $150 million for fisheries in Alaska and $50 million for replacing trees burned in Western wildfires. HUD would get $12 billion for block grants available to nearly every state. Members of Congress from New York and New Jersey say the money is needed now. House Republicans plans to introduce a $17 billion alternative. (Federal News Radio)
  • Falling budgets and an incomplete database are hindering the government’s efforts to maintain and use its historic buildings. That’s according to a new GAO report. Auditors looked at three agencies with the greatest number of historic buildings under their care: the General Services Administration, National Park Service and the VA. GAO says they might be forced to sell or lease the buildings because the government doesn’t have enough cash to maintain them. Some of them are functionally obsolete. The VA’s Old Main building in Milwaukee is at risk of collapsing. GAO also found, a database called the Federal Real Property Profile is incomplete. For most of the buildings in it, the database fails to indicate whether they are historic. GSA’s most famous historically-designated building: The West Wing of the White House. (Federal News Radio)