Wednesday federal headlines – April 9, 2014

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.

  • The Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is starting over on postal reform legislation. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) says he’s choosing an unlikely template — the Obama administration’s plan as outlined in its 2015 budget request. Issa says he will embrace the White House plan to the greatest extent possible. White House official Brian Deese describes the plan at a hearing. It would let the Postal Service space out its pre-payments to its retirees benefits plan and get back over-payments. It would keep some rural post offices open but end Saturday delivery. Some Democrats express disagreement with both Issa and the White House. (Federal News Radio)
  • Republicans and Democrats on a House Oversight panel call on the Social Security Administration to better examine disability beneficiaries. In a letter to Social Security leader Carolyn Colvin, the lawmakers suggest agency administrative law judges have rubber-stamped appeals from those denied disability. They recommend fixes, including greater monitoring of judges with high reversal rates and use of social media to size up beneficiaries before awarding benefits. The committee holds a hearing later today. (House)
  • President Barack Obama makes good on a pledge to impose a new pay reporting regime on federal contractors. He signs an executive order requiring the Labor Department to come up with a plan under which contractors can submit salary information by gender and race. The order prohibits contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to publicly discuss their pay. The moves come as Congress debates forcing all companies to take so-called pay equity measures. (White House)
  • The General Services Administration offers the opportunity of the century to D.C. developers: Help remake an area that stretches from the National Mall to the Southwest Waterfront. GSA issues a request for qualifications. It seeks construction and development services. In return, the developers get the GSA Regional Office Building and the Cotton Annex, both just south of the National Mall. A long-term plan for the area calls for mixed-use, energy-efficient buildings and walkable streets. (Federal News Radio)
  • Government auditors raise questions about building security at six agencies. The Government Accountability Office says the agencies’ methods of assessing risk fall short of interagency standards. As a result, they may not fully understand the risks facing their facilities and allocate the right resources. The agencies are the departments of the Interior and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Federal Protective Service, FEMA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Office of Personnel Management. GAO says the agencies do not consider all of the threats recommended by an interagency council. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Some 80,000 federal contractor employees are at risk of identity theft. That’s after a hacker broke into business research firm Deltek’s GovWin IQ system. The company emailed its customers, telling them the March 13 attacker got GovWin IQ usernames and passwords. Hackers also obtained credit card numbers for 25,000 customers. The company says those users will be offered free credit monitoring. A Deltek spokesman says the cyber attack also affected several federal agencies who subscribe to the service. He says law enforcement officials have made an arrest. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force does a 180 on some early retirement applications. It says airmen who applied for early retirement but were rejected can retire if they still want. These airmen received early retirement offers in error. The service did not intend to make the offer to them. It told the airmen about the mistake and withdrew the offers. Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services Lt. Gen. Sam Cox says the Air Force regrets any potential hardship it created. The Air Force says it has reviewed more than 5,000 applications. Only 20 were wrongly processed. (Air Force)
  • The Obama administration has chosen a novel way to comply with a 2011 arms control treaty with Russia. The deal calls for the United States to reduce the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles available to launch by 50. The U.S. currently has 450 land based nuclear missiles at three Air Force Bases. The Pentagon will remove 50 of them from their launch silos, but keep the silos open and ready. The missiles would be kept in storage and maintained. The so-called warm condition means the missiles could be returned to active status in a hurry. The warm silos come at a cost. It means steeper reductions in the numbers of submarine-launched nuclear missiles. Those won’t be cut until 2018. (Associated Press)