Thursday morning federal headlines – April 11, 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.

  • If you want to be happier at work, you might want to join the Senior Executive Service. They tend to be more satisfied with their jobs than other feds. That’s according to analysis of OPM’s Employee Viewpoint Survey. Deloitte and the Partnership for Public Service crunched the data. They say the findings are not surprising. Senior executives usually have more autonomy and control than other feds. But they call the difference “stark.” It’s an 18-point gap. SES members were more aligned with the rest of the workforce when it came to pay and work-life balance. (PPS)
  • Details of President Obama’s 2014 budget request reveal big increases for some departments and big cuts for others. Commerce, Energy, Labor and Transportation would all see double-digit boosts, mostly for discretionary grant programs. For example, DOT would get $50 billion for road and bridge projects. Agriculture, Defense, Education, EPA, Interior and Homeland Security would all see reductions. DHS components taking the hit include the Secret Service and Coast Guard. The State Department budget would also fall as the agency shrinks out of Iraq. Overall, the president seeks slightly more than $1 trillian to operate the government. The total budget is $3.8 trillion including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on the national debt. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Senate has confirmed Sally Jewell as the new Interior secretary. Eleven “no” notes all came from Republicans. Jewell is the former CEO of outdoor equipment retailer REI. Jewell, a former banker, is an avid outdoorsman. At Interior, she’ll oversee management of more than 500 million acres of public land, and a billion offshore acres. Right off the bat, Jewell faces how to deal with a proposed rule on hydraulic fracturing for companies seeking oil and gas on public lands. Environmentalists support the rule. Industry opposes it. Jewell is likely to continue the renewable energy policies of her predecessor, Ken Salazar. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Postal Service has reversed its decision to end Saturday first class mail delivery. It’s an about face for Postal, which had been hoping to save $2 billion a year. But the 2013 appropriations bill enacted in March told USPS to make no delivery changes until Congress said it could. The USPS Board of Governors told the agency to hold off. A big proponent of five-day delivery, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), says he was disappointed with the decision. (Federal News Radio)
  • Federal unions are telling the White House: with a friend like you, who needs enemies? Many are upset that President Barack Obama’s budget plan would require federal employees to contribute 1.2 percent more of their paychecks toward their pensions. The plan also calls for eliminating the FERS annuity supplement and calculating retirement benefits according to a chained CPI. It’s a triple whammy, according to the National Federation of Federal Employees. And the groups are saying, c’mon, a 1 percent pay raise after three years of freezes? The National Treasury Employees Union says it’s “simply inadequate.” (NTEU)
  • The president’s proposed 2014 budget request is a mixed bag for federal employees. They’d see a 1 percent increase in pay. But they’d also begin to pay more into their retirement accounts. The White House is calling for an increase of 1.2 percent over three years to those payments. It says that would save $20 billion over ten years. Plus, the president is calling for use of a so-called chained index that would trim cost of living allowances for retirees. The budget calls for continuing the pay freeze for political appointees. (Federal News Radio)
  • Maybe you’ll get nicer digs this year. The General Services Administration says President Barack Obama’s budget plan will help maintain federal buildings, consolidate its portfolio and invest in other federal property like border crossings. The proposal would restore the agency’s authority to use all of its incoming rent payments for repairs and maintenance. GSA says years of budget cuts have forced it to forgo more than $4 billion worth of improvements. The budget also contains $800 million for construction projects like the consolidation of Homeland Security headquarters at the Saint Elizabeth’s campus in Southeast. (GSA)