Thursday morning federal headlines – Sept. 1

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Amy Morris discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The General Services Administration wants contractors to know green is their friend. GSA in May issued rules requiring environmentally friendly products for its multiple award schedule contracts. Now, the agency says industry overreacted because it didn’t understand the rules. Houston Taylor, GSA’s assistant commissioner for acquisition management, said the goal of the rules is 95 percent purchases of green products, but the regulations don’t say it has to happen tomorrow. Houston said there is no mandate to remove perfectly good existing products from contracts. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Personnel Management will shut down the USAJobs web site October 6 to make way for a brand new version, USAJobs 3.0, which will debut a week later. Angela Bailey, OPM’s associate director, said the new site, which will no longer be hosted and operated by Monster Government Solutions, will incorporate both security and functionality improvements. Bailey said the site will make it easier for would-be federal employees to apply for multiple jobs, because they’ll be able to conduct more useful searches. And, because the site will be hosted on agency computers, Bailey said OPM will reduce a persistent hacking problem. (Federal News Radio)
  • The White House is ordering several departments to speed up job creation. President Barack Obama told the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development to identify up to three high-priority projects that will create jobs. However, the projects must already have funding. The president said he wants the agencies to speed up review and permitting for the projects. His goal is for work to start no later than 18 months from now. The president said the idea was suggested by his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. (Federal News Radio)
  • SAIC’s fiscal second-quarter profit fell more than six percent, according to the Washington Business Journal. The defense contractor said it was hurt by a lack of funding for ongoing programs because of government contracting cuts.The company also lowered its full-year outlook. SAIC CEO Walt Havenstein said the overall results for the quarter were disappointing and that the government contracting environment is challenging because of the lack of money for ongoing programs. The company said it’s counting on the growth seen in SAIC’s health, energy, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance businesses. (Washington Business Journal)
  • Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has launched a postal reform website, called The interactive portal will have information, resources and videos on the U.S. Postal Service and its financial situation. The site also links to a “Postal Reform App”, which allows visitors to give their input about which solutions they prefer to tackle the Postal Service’s challenges. USPS is projected to lose $9 billion this year. A bill, introduced by Issa and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), to overhaul the Postal Service is still making its way through Congress. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • Customs and Border Protection is getting a little more elbow room at Sentinal Square One in the NoMa neighborhood in Northeast Washington, D.C. The Washington Business Journal reports CBP has signed a second lease for another 96,000 square feet, nearly doubling its presence there. The defense agency will move in by the middle of next year. (Washington Business Journal)
  • A major fruit company has sued the Food and Drug Administration for stopping imports of canteloupes from Guatemala. Some experts say the suit could have a chilling effect on federal regulators, the Associated Press reports. Del Monte Fresh Produce filed the suit after the FDA ordered the canteloupes off the market in July, citing a danger of salmonella. An outbreak had been traced to some of the fruit and the company had issued a voluntary recall. Former FDA official David Acheson told the AP, if the suit is successful, it could change the attitudes of regulators who’ll be more reluctant to order recalls or stop imports of tainted food. (Federal News Radio)
  • A 24-year FBI veteran has become the agency’s new deputy director, the AP reports. Sean Joyce replaces Timothy Murphy, who is retiring. Since last year, Joyce has been the executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch. He received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service in 2004 for work on a counterterrorism squad in Dallas. In 2008, he was named chief of the international terrorism operations section. Earlier in his career, Joyce was a member of the bureau’s Hostage Rescue Team. (Federal News Radio)
  • Orbital debris is simply the cost of doing business in space, NASA said, in the wake of a recent USA Today report revealing thousands of bits of metal scraps, loose screws, paint chips, big rocket pieces and more are circling the planet at orbital speeds. However, as the problem gets worse, the agency is calling for space-faring nations to confront space junk. The National Research Council has released a report on protecting spacecraft from debris, old rocket bodies and meteoroids. The goal is to protect assets belonging to nations and private firms. (USA Today)
  • A NASA spacecraft cruising toward Jupiter glanced back and snapped a rare picture of Earth and the moon. The picture, which shows two white dots, one brighter than the other, was taken last week when the spacecraft, Juno, was six million miles away. The solar-powered Juno blasted off earlier this month on a five-year journey to Jupiter. Juno will get closer than any other craft has before, flying within 3,100 miles of the dense cloud tops to learn more about Jupiter’s origins. The $1 billion dollar mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. (NASA)