Wednesday federal headlines – May 1, 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.

  • Fifteen federal buildings have earned top scores for energy efficiency in a national competition. A federal courthouse in Newark, N.J., and the San Antonio Federal Building in Texas made the top 10 out of more than 3,000 entries in the 2012 Energy Star competition. Both buildings reduced their energy use by more than 30 percent. Thirteen more buildings cut their energy use by a fifth. The General Services Administration says it is using advanced meters and smart building technology to monitor improvements. It says together, the buildings have saved nearly $1 million in energy bills. (GSA)
  • The U. S. Postal Service has hired United Healthcare to provide health insurance to 35,000 non-career employees. The move will bring USPS into compliance with the Affordable Health Care Act. The three year contract starts in 2014. It will cost up to $239 million per year, depending on how many people sign up. Beneficiaries will pay their own way. The contract comes with two renewal options, each for three years. Regular postal workers under the Federal Employee Health Benefits program will continue with the same coverage. (USPS)
  • The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority knows how to lift the spirits of furloughed feds: discounted golf at three suburban courses. Starting today, federal employees can show their IDs and play for just $25. That’s about 30 percent off the regular fee. Park authority officials say the program is meant as a gesture of solidarity with federal workers forced to take unpaid days off. They suggest you might want to play with your coworkers. (NVRPA)
  • President Barack Obama says he’s confident the government’s anti-terror complex did what it was supposed to before the Boston Marathon bombings. But he’s asked a group of four inspectors general to launch a 90-day review. They’ll look at whether information sharing was adequate. And if there’s something the government could have done to prevent the Patriot’s Day attack. The review is headed by Charles McCullough, the I.G. of the intelligence community. He’ll be joined by the inspectors general of the CIA, Justice and Homeland Security. (Federal News Radio)
  • Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.) is poised to take over the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. White House officials told the Associated Press President Barack Obama plans to nominate Watt today to replace Edward DeMarco. Watt has represented the Charlotte-area in Washington for 20 years. He is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee. He played a key role in the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul legislation. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Barack Obama plans to name a former lobbyist to head the Federal Communications Commission. A White House source tells the Associated Press, the president will nominate Tom Wheeler as top telecommunications regulator. Wheeler is former head of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, and of the National Cable Television Association. Since 2005, he’s been a venture capitalist at Core Capital Partners. If confirmed, Wheeler will face the issue of how to auction off television bandwidth to make more room for wireless data services. The current chairman, Julius Genachowski, is expected to step down after the May 9 FCC public meeting. (Federal News Radio)