Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast – July 14th

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear head of the Office of Management and Budget. Jacob Lew led OMB for almost three years in the Clinton administration, during an era of government surpluses. Lew is currently the deputy secretary of State for management and resources. The Washington Times reports Lew was chief operating officer at a unit of Citigroup just before joining the Obama administration last year, earning $1.1 million in compensation in 2008. If confirmed by the Senate, he would assume a cabinet-level post a government facing a deficit that already exceeds $1 trillion dollars for the first three quarters of the fiscal year.

  • The federal government’s big buying arm has a new leader. Steve Kempf has moved into a new role as the permanent head of the Federal Acquisition Service at GSA. Kempf had been the acting commissioner since the former leader, Jim Williams, left in April. Also taking a leadership post is Jon Jordan, who becomes the new deputy commissioner. Jordan has worked on GSA budget programs for more than three decades.
  • Senator Diane Feinstein has relented in her delay of hearings for a new Intelligence Director nominee. Now, a hearing on the nomination of retired Air Force General James Clapper is scheduled for July 20. Feinstein is chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. She was holding up Clapper as a negotiating ploy with the White House over an intelligence overhaul bill. But that bill is stalled in the House by Speaker and fellow Democrat Nancy Pelosi. The president nominated Clapper six weeks ago. If confirmed, he would succeed Admiral Dennis Blair.
  • Federal financial managers give low marks to the return on investment they get from IT investments. That’s one finding from a survey by the Association of Government Accountants. Only a third are satisfied with the spending on systems aimed at improving financial management. A third are not satisfied, Federal Times reports. The AGA finding comes just as the Office of Management and Budget is intensively reviewing 30 financial systems projects across the government.
  • The United States and Canada want to play nicer along the border. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews unveiled a series of initiatives to promote more secure borders and economic cooperation. Congress Daily reports, the two sides will create a joint threat and risk assessment. They’ll draft a plan to protect critical infrastructure, such as electrical grids and tunnels. And they will increase information sharing among first responders.
  • There was fire at the old St. Elizabeth’s Hospital last night and it may have been the result of a thunder storm. The Department of Homeland Security owns the building now, but it’s unoccupied. DC Fire and EMS believes a bolt of lightning may have hit the roof on the 8-story building in Southwest just before 10 pm last night. More than 100 firefighters were on the scene, and one suffered minor injuries.
  • The deputy superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery has submitted retirement papers. According to the “Washington Post” the move came before Army officials could compel Thurman Higginbotham to meet with a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee investigating irregularities including botched contracts with companies that failed to digitize a system to catalog remains at the cemetery. Higginbotham’s paperwork would make his retirement retroactive to July 2nd.
  • Thousands of registered sex offenders, including at least 30 federal employees, have received U.S. passports according to a Government Accountability Office report obtained by CNN. GAO reportedly found about 4,500 passports of the more than 16 million issued in FY 2008 were issued to registered sex offenders. The GAO report noted State cannot legally deny passports to registered sex offenders, except those specifically convicted of sex tourism.

  • More news links


    Federal budget gap tops $1 trillion through June

    Lockheed wins $5B special ops contract (Washington Business Journal)

    Northrop looks to split ship unit, close shipyard

    Park Service unveils its plan for Mall (WashingtonPost)

    Thousands of laptops stolen from Army contractor

    Former BLM Official Sentenced to Federal Prison (DOJ Press Release)

    Rare dark jellyfish showing up in San Diego Bay


    Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

    ** Federal News Radio told you about it first: Steve Kempf has been selected to lead GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. One day after the announcement, we’ll talk to him about his new job.

    ** And we’ll continue our series Cool Jobs in Government. Imagine drilling one of the deepest holes ever. We’ll talk to the person behind it and ask him why they would do such a thing.

    Join Chris from 3 to 7 pm on 1500 AM or on your computer.