Friday Morning Federal Newscast – April 16th

OMB raises cap on executive pay costs in federal contracts; Pay freeze proposed for Congress; New fleet rules urge more walking, biking, less driving

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear slightly larger piece of the pie, under OMB rules. Dan Gordon, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy said Thursday the maximum reimbursement amount is now almost $694,000 dollars a year, up $10,000 from the year before. GovExec that figure includes the executive’s total wages, salary, bonuses and deferred compensation for the year, whether paid, earned or otherwise accruing. The new figure applies to both civilian and military contractors.

  • Capitol Hill lawmakers would see another year without a salary increase under legislation introduced by Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Members of the House and Senate must vote to prevent their pay increase. The amount is generally the same percentage increase that federal workers receive. Congress did not receive a pay raise in 2010, and that means salaries for most members of the House and Senate stayed at $174,000. Nelson says his goal will be to keep overall spending flat for 2011, for legislative branch spending which includes the Capitol police force, the Government Accountability Office, the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol.
  • Lace ’em up! Agency officials could be walking a lot more to conserve fuel. Guidance from the Energy Department and the General Services Administration is the first roadmap issued to help federal fleet managers reduce the environmental impact of the federal government’s 650,000 vehicles. In October, President Obama issued an executive order that requires agencies to cut their fuel use by 2 percent through 2020. FederalTimes reports the guidance asks agencies to consider consolidating trips, increase the use of videoconferencing, use mass transportation or agency shuttles, and promote bicycling or walking.
  • FBI Director Robert Mueller says a working electronic case management system will be up and running in 2011, a year after promised. NextGov reports Mueller told a Senate committee the $425 million Sentinel system will undergo testing this summer. Last month, an FBI inspector general report said it was unclear when the project would be finished or what it would ultimately cost.
  • The Food and Drug Administration is leading the way in transparency. Earlier this month, FDA launched “FDA-TRACK” an online reporting system that includes 40 dashboards that track benchmarks from 100 FDA program offices. Federal Computer Week reports while some of the dashboards are populated with data, many of them are not. The 40 dashboards match FDA’s 9 divisions and the FDA commissioner’s office.
  • Arizona Senator John McCain recommends a military response to rising violence on the Mexican border, reports NextGov. McCain called the actions of drug cartels tantamount to war, citing the recent shooting death of a rancher in Southeast Arizona. He said the same systems used against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan should be deployed on the Mexican border. McCain’s comments came during a nomination hearing for James Winnefeld Jr. to head the U.S. Northern Command.
  • Destruction of videotapes showing harsh CIA interrogation techniques was approved by Porter Goss, then director if the CIA. Internal CIA e-mails, released yesterday by the Justice Department, show Goss immediately began worrying whether he’d done the right thing. Destruction of the tapes was suggested by Jose Rodriguez, the agency’s top clandestine officer. Documents show former White House counsel, Harriet Miers, was livid at learning of the tapes’ destruction.
  • A former senior executive at the National Security Agency was charged Thursday with lying and obstruction of justice in an investigation of leaks of classified information to a newspaper. Federal prosecutors said Thomas Drake, 52, served as a source for many articles about the NSA in an unidentified newspaper, including articles that contained classified information. A federal indictment filed in Maryland charges that Drake used a non government e-mail account to transmit classified and unclassified information. Authorities also charge that Drake lied to federal agents about what he’d done.

  • More news links

    On to Mars: Obama declares, ‘I expect to see it’

    Obama: Allow more access to hospital patients

    Astronauts put cargo carrier back on space shuttle

    Israel bans imports of Apple iPad


    Coming up today on The Daily Debrief:

    ** Challenging times for the Postal Service as the business model has changed — and quickly. Are there fixes? The Government Accountability Office has been looking into that question and we’ll talk to them this afternoon.

    ** And you’ve been working on the open government data initiative. We’ll talk to a professor who specializes on data — and he’ll tell us why open data matters.

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