Friday morning federal headlines – April 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 users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • Three more Cabinet secretaries have joined the parade of administration officials giving up some of their salaries. They want to show solidarity with potentially furloughed feds. Secretary of State John Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took the pledge yesterday, as did Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. They’ll donate a portion of their pay to charities that benefit federal workers. Kerry can still afford to tip his barber. He is worth around $184 million. He is married to the heiress of the Heinz Foods fortune, believed to be worth $1 billion. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was the first to donate part of his salary, followed by President Barack Obama. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Management and Budget is telling agency managers to be more like Gumby, and use all the flexibility they can to deal with budget sequestration. Controller Danny Werfel says budget cuts don’t have to be strictly across-the-board. He says the half-year funding bill President Obama signed last week does provide discretion here and there. OMB is also telling agencies to negotiate with inspectors general before cutting their budgets. (Federal News Radio)
  • When they give law enforcement and anti-terror grants, federal investigative agencies practically stumble over each other. That’s the gist of a new report from the Government Accountability Office. It says Homeland Security, Justice, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy don’t coordinate field work by grantees. And that leads to overlap and redundancy. GAO found that many units, centers and task forces have sprung up in the past 30 years to take on drugs and other crimes, and terrorism. These state-level groups are often funded by multiple federal agencies. GAO urges more oversight and information sharing to avoid wasting money and effort. (GAO)
  • Internal bickering at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has slowed down the agency’s rule-making. The Wall Street Journal reports, the agency is supposed to be writing and implementing rules called for in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law. But the agency has internal disagreements and pressure from lobbyists. Director Gary Gensler delayed a key vote until May. Part of the problem is ambiguity in the law and the complexity of the rules the CFTC has to write. The agency is dealing with a complicated financial instrument called swap trading. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Tension on the Korean Peninsula may be bad for world peace, but it could be good news for two big defense contractors. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency says both Lockheed Martin and Boeing are now authorized to sell new stealth jets to South Korea. Lockheed can sell up to 60 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. They’d be worth nearly $11 billion. Or South Korea can select 60 Boeing F-15 SE Silent Eagles. They’d be worth $2.4 billon. South Korea’s fleet now consists of Vietnam-era F-4s and F-5s jets. (DSCA)
  • Furloughs are coming to another agency. The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to cut 32 hours from every full-time employee’s schedule. In a letter to employees obtained by Federal News Radio, EPA Assistant Administrator Craig Hooks said May 24 will be the first agency-wide furlough day. Part-time employees will be furloughed proportionally to their schedules. EPA has also set up an Intranet site with details for employees. (Federal News Radio)