Monday morning federal headlines – Feb. 25, 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 Merit Systems Protection Board is preparing for an onslaught of furlough appeals, if across-the-board budget cuts begin next month. Its caseload could rise, conceivably, by 100-fold. Gov Exec has published a letter the board chairman sent to the Senate panel that oversees the board. In it, Chairwoman Susan Grundmann warns of a “domino effect” that would hurt agencies’ operations as they litigate these cases. The board must hear appeals brought by federal employees furloughed for up to a month. The irony of it, Grundmann said, is that the MSPB may have to furlough its employees too. (Gov Exec)
  • The White House spent the weekend upping the rhetoric level over sequestration. It released a state-by-state listing of potential impact. The $85 billion in cuts are scheduled for Friday unless Congress figures out an alternative plan. White House officials highlighted Ohio, the home state of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The Buckeye state would lose $25 million in education spending and another $22 million for students with disabilities, according to White House figures. (Federal News Radio)
  • Some lawmakers say one small agency has outlived its usefulness. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) are betting that the military will remain a volunteer force. That means the Selective Service can go. The 130-person agency maintains a database of eligible men, just in case there’s a military draft. Agency Director Lawrence Romo said it is an inexpensive insurance policy. The Pentagon’s recent decision to let women serve in combat is raising questions about whether women would have to register with the agency too. (Federal News Radio)
  • One federal executive says her agency will do just fine, even it there is sequestration. Karen Mills, head of the Small Business Administration, said she won’t need to order furloughs because enough people have retired early. Mills said sequestration will have little effect on the number of loans the agency guarantees. The White House has warned that Section 504 loans would be cut by $900 million. But Mills said demand for the loans has already dropped by that much. Mills has announced her departure once a replacement administrator is confirmed. (Federal News Radio)
  • The White House says agencies should make it easier to use their scientific research. The Office of Science and Technology Policy is directing agencies that do more than $100 million a year in research and development to draft open-access plans within six months. They have to make federally funded research public within a year. They also have to find ways to make their data and archives easier to search. The White House says agencies should work together as much as possible, and they should find resources within their existing budgets. (The White House)
  • The General Services Administration has canceled the 2013 edition of its annual Expo. It had been scheduled for May 14-16 in Orlando. GSA officials cited budget pressures compounded by the threat of sequestration. The Expo has two purposes. GSA provides training for federal customers on how to use its contracts. And it offers a venue for vendors to show off products. The Defense Department has also canceled conferences attended by both government and industry. (Federal News Radio)