Friday federal headlines – October 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.

  • On day 11 of the partial government shutdown, only the stock market seems confident political leaders will reach a compromise. Stocks rose sharply, apparently on news that Republican House members visited with President Barack Obama. They presented a proposal, and the president didn’t immediately reject it. But he didn’t accept it either. The plan would leave the shutdown in place but raise the debt ceiling so the two sides could negotiate further on spending. Senate Majority Harry Reid dismissed the idea out of hand. (Associated Press)
  • It’s the first short payday of the shutdown for most federal employees. The amounts will look normal for defense civilian employees who worked through last week because they were exempt. But employees who were furloughed and then called back to duty this week will receive only a partial paycheck. That’s according to the Pay Our Military Act, signed into law last week. (Defense Department)
  • President Barack Obama has signed legislation to make sure families of fallen troops receive death benefits. The Pentagon had suspended the $100,000 payments Oct. 1, when the government partially shut down. Since then, 29 service members have died. The stoppage drew complaints from congressional members of both parties. A private foundation had offered to foot the bill until the government resumed normal operations. The Senate passed its version of the bill yesterday. (Associated Press)
  • Some national parks will reopen during the shutdown, but it won’t be on the federal dime. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says the government will consider letting states pay for operations. The federal government would maintain control of the property. Governors in at least four states have asked for authority to reopen parks within their borders because they are losing revenue. Utah’s governor says he already has wired money to pay for the five parks in that state. The cost: $166,000 a day. They will reopen tomorrow. All 401 national park units are closed. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees have been furloughed. (Associated Press)
  • Federal courts have enough money from filing fees and long-term appropriations to stay open through at least Oct. 17. The Supreme Court can eke out one more day on current funds — it says normal operations can continue through Oct. 18. The judiciary’s administrative office said other federal courts may be able to last that long too because they’ve already curtailed business. A spokesperson for the Southern District of New York says it will stay open. Everyone will work. They just won’t get paid after that date. (U.S. Courts)
  • The government has fallen to a new low in the estimation of American citizens. A new Gallup pool shows a record-low 18 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way the nation is being governed. Not that it was so great to start with. Before the government shutdown, the approval rating was 32 percent. The previous record low of 19 percent occurred in September 2011, during another budget crisis. Before that, the low point of 20 percent occurred in 1973, at the height of the Watergate scandal. The survey shows greater dissatisfaction among Republicans then Democrats. But Democrats’ feelings are falling faster. (Gallup)
  • Facebook is getting rid of a privacy feature that let users limit who can find them. No longer will you be able to restrict who can see your timeline in the social network. Facebook says it is an old search setting that a small percentage of its nearly 1.2 billion users still rely on. It says there are other ways to control what people can find out about you. (Facebook)
  • Recent revelations about online National Security Agency surveillance have sparked an uptick in use of anonymous web browsing services. Computerworld reports, companies offering that service are seeing a spike in usage. A startup called Disconnect Search launched Monday, and by yesterday morning had more than 400,000 searches. Duck-Duck-Go had 54 million searches in May, before Snowden went public. Last month, it had 116 million. Because the company doesn’t collect user information, it can’t say how many individuals have used the service. Anonymous search companies let visitors use their usual search engines, but the queries are routed through the companies’ servers, removing an identification of the searcher. (ComputerWorld)
  • The Defense Department is about to lose one of its most knowledgeable civilians. Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter will step down Dec. 4. Secretary Chuck Hagel says he accepted Carter’s resignation reluctantly. Carter’s current stint at the Pentagon has lasted since early in the Obama administration. Before becoming deputy, he was the chief weapons buyer. He spearheaded the recent Strategic Choices and Management Review, a long term budget plan. Carter also served as an assistant secretary during the Clinton administration. Hagel says Carter has an unparalleled knowledge of every facet of America’s defense enterprise. (Federal News Radio)