Tuesday morning federal headlines – Jan. 22, 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 FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • Government may not hold the answer for all of our problems, but it is part of the solution. In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama spoke in general terms about the role of the federal government. But his words made clear that he would continue to bargain hard with the GOP over funding key federal initiatives like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He said “outworn programs,” however, would not meet Americans’ needs. He called for new ideas and technology to remake government and said he wanted to revamp the tax code. (White House)
  • House Republicans took Inauguration Day to advance their plan for a three-month debt ceiling extension. They introduced the bill, and it will likely pass the House tomorrow. The bill would extend the government’s borrowing power until May 19. The government has already reached the current debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion. The Treasury is using extraordinary but limited measures to keep the government running. The Wall Street Journal reports, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hasn’t said what his chamber might do. An aide predicts the Senate will go along if the House doesn’t attach any spending conditions. (White House)
  • Todd Jones may be glad its the Senate that decides whether he’ll lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In the House, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is calling Jones’ nomination a “slap in the face” to victims of a botched gun-tracking program. Jones became the acting head of ATF after Operation Fast and Furious had ended. But Issa said Jones failed to hold the employees involved accountable and did not protect agency whistleblowers. President Obama last week called on the Senate to confirm Jones during a speech on gun control. The bureau has not had a permanent leader in more than six years. (Oversight & Government Reform Committee)
  • As hundreds of thousands of people jammed the National Mall for the inauguration, the Smithsonian Institution saw the chance for a little anthropology. The curator of the forthcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture spent the day searching the crowd for possible artifacts. William Pretzer was looking for hand-made memorabilia of the second inauguration of the first African American president. He asked one person to donate her sweatshirt, another his flag decorated with the inaugural symbol. The museum is under construction near the Washington Monument. It’s scheduled to open in 2015. (Federal News Radio)
  • A House committee takes up what could be one of the most sweeping acquisition reform bills in years. It’s the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. It hasn’t been formally introduced yet by its sponsor, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) But FITARA gets its first hearing today before Issa’s committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The bill would give departmental CIOs more budget authority while creating a central body to oversee commodity IT purchases. Among the witnesses will be Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel. (Oversight & Government Reform Committee)