Friday Morning Federal Newscast – February 18th

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.

  • Lawmakers in the House agreed to pare down debate on amendments in the GOPs spending bill so the continuing resolution can pass today and be sent to the Senate. Congress is not in session next week, recessing for the President’s Day holiday, so lawmakers will only have a few days after they return to pass the funding bill before the current CR expires on March 4th. Politico reports House speaker John Boehner is standing firm behind the proposed $61-billion in cuts for the remainder of 2011. Boehner told reporters if the Senate does not pass the CR, the GOP controlled House will not continue to fund the government at current spending levels. Likewise President Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it contained certain cuts. The bill is not expected to win approval in the Democratically controlled Senate.
  • A new bill would prevent lawmakers and the President from being paid in the event of a government shutdown. California Democrat Barbara Boxer introduced the bill. She’s urging her colleague on the hill to take the threat of a shutdown off the table, or sacrifice their pay. Boxer said in a press release that a shutdown would be a disaster four our nation and economy. The bill would also prevent lawmakers from being paid if the public debt limit is reached and the government defaults on its financial obligations.
  • If you have been looking for another reason to pay your taxes on time, here’s one: your job status could depend on it. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has reintroduced a bill that would fire federal employees who neglect to pay their taxes. A 2010 study by the IRS, found executive branch employees owed approximately $1 billion in back taxes while Capitol Hill staffers owed over $9 million.
  • There is one bright spot in the dismal outlook for federal pay and promotion possibilities. Federal executives may soon have additional professional development opportunities. And they’ll get stronger recruitment tools for the top jobs. GovExec reports, that’s all promised in a memo from OMB Director John Berry. The memo says tight budgets and growing workloads have limited the opportunities for development.
  • About two-thirds of employees at the Homeland Security Department don’t feel poor performers are held accountable, don’t think promotions are based on merit or don’t feel they’re rewarded for showing creative and innovation. All of that according to the Partnership for Public Service’s 2010 rankings of the Best Places to Work in the federal government. To fix those problems, Chief Human Capital Officer Jeff Neal says he is taking steps to improve the agency. Federal Times says DHS will begin a major leadership development program this spring aimed at properly preparing new managers for their roles and educating them on department-wide initiatives.
  • The ranks of teleworkers grew by 11,000 in the fiscal 2009. The latest figures from OPM show that about six percent of federal employees telework under official arrangements, but the actual number of teleworkers might be larger. In a survey, 22 percent of federal workers say they do some teleworking. The discrepancy might stem from the existence if informal agreements between workers and supervisors, OPM reports.
  • The Federal Trade Commission may be on the move. A House panel approved a bill that would move the FTC out of their current aging building. The move to a government-owned space would free up the building for use by the National Gallery of Art. Rep. John Mica (R-Fl.) introduced the bill and said about 700 FTC employees would be affected. Gov Exec reports the art gallery would be able to consolidate multiple facilities into the vacated space.
  • Twenty-nine U.S. Senators have signed on to burn, not ban, incandescent light bulbs. Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) have 27-co-sponsors for the BULB, “Better Use of Light Bulbs”, act which overturns repeal standards in the 2007 energy law that effectively bans traditional incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012.

More news links

AP sources: House GOP looks for deeper budget cuts

Navy admits wrong call on accusing dog handler

Alaska senators upset over TSA’s Iditarod decision

Obama to meet with Facebook, Apple founders

Calif. firm develops flying artificial hummingbird for DARPA

Ark. cities feel unexplained surge in earthquakes

Earth dodges geomagnetic storm: scientist (AFP)


Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** The Combined Federal Campaign — the goal is to support philanthropy. Well, how is the CFC fairing in the age of austerity? We’ll talk to OPM Director John Berry about the world’s largest and most successful workplace charity program.

** And you’ve heard that the Internet is running out of… Well, space. We’ll get an update on what this means to you

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


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