Tuesday morning federal headlines – March 5, 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.

  • A group that makes emergency loans to federal employees is warning it may not have enough for everyone who needs help. The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund said it is bracing for an avalanche of requests for furlough assistance. It won’t award any furlough loans until an employee actually receives a “short” paycheck. Then, it will serve first those feds in danger of eviction, foreclosure or having their utilities shut off. FEEA lends federal employees small amounts of $1,000 or less. It expects to have less money to give because it also relies on federal employees to donate money. (FEEA)
  • Mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have cost taxpayers more than $130 billion. Now signs of a major potential overhaul are appearing. The Wall Street Journal reports, The Federal Housing Finance Agency will form a third company to become the operational wing for both Fannie and Freddie. Later it could provide the foundation for what Congress decides will replace them. Fannie and Freddie together repackage 90 percent of home mortgages in the United States. FHFA acting director Edward DeMarco announced the new entity at a Washington meeting of economists. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Sequester or not, NASA is moving ahead on plans for a multi-vendor, governmentwide acquistion contract. It is inviting IT vendors to an industry-only briefing Monday. When awarded, the Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement, or SEWP, will be in its fifth generation. NASA plans to release the draft request for proposals this week, so would-be bidders have a chance to see it before the industry day. SEWP-five will continue the series emphasis on hardware, but will add cloud computing services. It will likely be worth more than $10 billion over its five-year life. (NASA)
  • House Republicans plan to move on a bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of March. They will schedule a vote Thursday. The bill would be a modified continuing resolution to follow onto the CR. It would extend the federal pay freeze and leave funding at current levels, including the $85 billion sequestration. But it would give the Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments line-by-line new budgets. President Obama said he is trying to find Republicans who will agree to a sequestration replacement plan that includes tax hikes. (Federal News Radio)
  • Five days in, and most agencies’ specific sequestration plans remain murky. The Obama administration submitted a governmentwide report to Congress when the president signed the latest budget cuts last week. But it details reductions only down to the account level, not the program, project and activity level. Still, it’s possible to see the effects on some parts of the government. For example, the Army operations and maintenance account contains about $60 billion subject to sequestration. It will be cut by $4.6 billion. GSA’s inspector general will lose $3 million out of a $16 million budget. (Federal News Radio)