Thursday morning federal headlines – March 7, 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 surge in federal retirements in February might have caught the Office of Personnel Management off guard. The folks that process retirement claims say they received nearly four times as many applications as projected. More than 20,000 feds said goodbye in the shortest month. That’s nearly as many as in January, which is usually when OPM gets the most applications. The new additions prevented OPM from making a dent in its backlog of claims, even though it is working faster. The agency has given itself until September to make good on a pledge to process most applications within 60 days. (Federal News Radio)
  • Washington developers are jumping at the chance to build a new headquarters for the FBI or to take over the old Hoover building. The Washington Business Journal reports, the General Services Administration has received 35 responses from interested groups. D.C. officials want to move the FBI to Poplar Point in southeast Washington. The locations is near several major highways, bike paths and Metro stations. Prince George’s County is making a serious offer, as are several communities in Northern Virginia. GSA issued only a request for information to gauge interest. It could make a more formal request this summer. The agency is mum on financing. (The Washington Business Journal)
  • It’s now the Senate’s turn to tackle the federal budget. The House has passed a measure to fund the government through September. It would prevent a shutdown at the end of this month, when the current continuing resolution runs out. But it would freeze federal pay for a third year in a row. It would give the Defense Department more flexibility to manage its finances, but it does not undo sequestration or give other agencies the same powers. Senate Democrats plan to modify it. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Barack Obama took GOP senators out to dinner last night. The two-hour meal did not end in compromise over the federal budget. But it could mark a breakthrough in frosty relations between the president and rank-and-file Republicans. White House and congressional aides said their bosses enjoyed the exchange of ideas at the Jefferson Hotel. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) flashed a thumbs up afterwards. Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) predicts things will “come to a crescendo” this summer. He was not invited to the dinner but had spoken with the president by phone. (Federal News Radio)
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) filibustered for nearly 13 hours last night. He tried to block the Senate’s confirmation of John Brennan as the next CIA director. Paul ended the stall tactic shortly after midnight. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and said he would continue to oppose Brennan’s nomination today. The record for the longest individual speech on the Senate floor belongs to Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957. (Federal News Radio)