Monday federal headlines – November 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.

  • Sequestration and the federal budget will be Topic One when the House and Senate resume work tomorrow. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has called for a two-year deal to replace sequestration cuts. But 2014 could be hard enough. House Republicans and Senate Democrats are $91 billion apart. They have different views on how to handle the second year of automatic cuts called for by the Budget Control Act. The conference committee wants to finish work by Dec. 13. The current continuing resolution expires Jan. 15. (Federal News Radio)
  • The latest survey of federal employees is out, and the picture isn’t good. The Office of Personnel Management has published results of its most recent annual Viewpoint survey. For the second year in a row, employee satisfaction has dropped. It now stands at 59 percent. Less that half of federal employees feel they have enough resources to do their jobs effectively. More than 376,000 employees responded to the survey. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the federal government lost 12,000 jobs in October. GovExec reports, furloughed federal employees did not affect the statistics. And the shutdown merely delayed the release of the figures. The federal government has lost 94,000 jobs in the past year. Sequestration and an increase in federal retirements contribute to the reduction. In fiscal year 2014, the total workforce will decrease further, from about 4.3 to 4.1 million employees. By 2015, many House Republicans want to cut the federal workforce by 10 percent by using attrition, meaning less employees replace those that leave the government workforce. (GovExec)
  • Two rival trade groups representing federal contractors are headed to court. TechAmerica is suing the IT Industry Council and three of the four employees who left it and went to ITI. TechAmerica is claiming breach of contract and the unlawful taking of proprietary information. TechAmerica seeks $5 million in damages and court costs. Plus, it wants an injunction preventing ITI from acting on the information it received. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Department of Homeland Security is getting heat from lawmakers about its recent technology services contract. The Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE II) program is a seven-year, $22 billion contract. Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) are asking why DHS awarded 15 relatively untested companies and ignored many of its top performing companies in the current contract. One company, STG Inc., says DHS excluded them from a post-award briefing. DHS faces several other protests regarding the EAGLE II contract. (Federal News Radio)
  • announced its partnership with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver orders on Sundays, USA Today reports. Amazon is the world’s largest internet retailer. The new Amazon service started yesterday in Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas and plans to expand in 2014. The company hopes that adding a Sunday delivery option will generate more sales. The deal is a well-received new source of revenue for the Postal Service. (USA Today)
  • In the aftermath of the Super Typhoon Haiyan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed U.S. Pacific Command to assist humanitarian efforts in the Philippines. The typhoon affected six central islands and devastated the city of Tacloban. The Philippines is one of five U.S. Allies in the Asia-Pacific region, a disaster-prone area known as the Ring of Fire. DoD is working with USAID in order to help the country recover. (Defense Department)
  • Today we honor the nation’s 22 million veterans. But what about the hundreds of thousands of vets that were discharged? A New York Times Op-Ed reveals that administrative discharges for minor misconduct, along with dishonorable discharges make veterans ineligible for the health care, employment, housing and education benefits offered by the Veterans Affairs Department. Many times these offenses are the result of war-time stress. Some think that Congress and our communities need to give more support to this disadvantaged group and not let those that served fall between the cracks. (NY Times)
  • Navy officials want to speed up the consolidation and closure of data centers, and move military data to secure commercial hosts. Federal Times reports, a new request for information discusses consolidating 12,000 servers. Last year the Navy targeted one tenth that number of servers. The RFI calls for more than tripling current plans to close 22 data centers. The Navy will hold an industry day Nov. 20, when it will have more details. The RFI says the only way the Navy brass believe they can meet stringent I T budget goals is through use of commercial technology and services. (Federal Times)