Friday Morning Federal Newscast – February 25th

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.

  • Talk of a possible government shutdown continues. Republican House leaders are now crafting a two-week continuing resolution with 4 billion dollars in cuts. Senate majority leader Harry Reid has come out strongly against the two-week stop gap – saying it’s just as extreme as the first bill. The two week measure will be on the House floor next week. Meanwhile the Senate will begin reviewing the House Passed spending bill with $61-billion dollars in cuts.
  • Most Americans favor a compromise to avert a government shutdown over the federal budget, a Gallup poll released Thursday indicated. UPI reports 60 percent of survey respondents said they wanted a compromise rather than watch lawmakers become entrenched in their positions and possibly trigger a government shutdown after March 4, when the current funding resolution expires. Thirty-two percent had the opposite view.
  • The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is calling for an investigation into charges that an army unit trained in psychological operations practiced its craft on American Senators. The goal? To get more money and troops for war. General David Petraeus is preparing to order an investigation into the allegations, which were published in Rolling Stone Magazine. The story says that the staff of Lt. General William Caldwell ordered the information operations unit to compile profiles, voting records and other information on visiting lawmakers to leverage in a campaign to get more assistance. It says the campaign also improperly targeted the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and others. Caldwell’s office denies it.
  • The Air Force has awarded a $35 billion contract to build the next generation of air refueling tankers to Boeing. The announcement came at the Pentagon after the financial markets closed. It was welcome news in Washington state and Kansas, where much of the work on the tanker will be done. The decision was a blow to the European Aeronautic Defense and Space, which also had bid for the contract. It was a major disappointment for Alabama, which had been counting on the work at a long-shuttered military base in Mobile. The Air Force has tried for nearly a decade to replace its aging fleet of Eisenhower-era tankers.
  • Nearly immediately on the heels of the announcement it had won the Air Force tanker contract, Boeing announced a switch in a key part supplier. Cobham Plc will supply the 179 KC-46A tanker aircraft with a hose and drogue refueling systems which will be built in Davenport, Iowa. Tankers that Boeing built previously for Japan and Italy had used parts built by General Electric.
  • Space shuttle Discovery is chasing the International Space Station after lifting off for its final mission. The six astronauts will spend Friday surveying their ship for signs of launch damage. Several pieces of foam insulation broke off Discovery’s fuel tank. But NASA says it happened late enough in the launch to pose no safety concern. Following its 11-day mission, Discovery will be retired and sent to a museum. While NASA faces widespread furloughs that would interrupt preparation for space shuttle flights this spring, employees will be allowed to work to make sure the Discovery astronauts will return safely to Earth.
  • Fannie Mae is asking the federal government for another $2.6 billion. This, even though the mortgage finance company posted a fourth-quarter profit of $73 million. That’s not bad, considering they posted a loss of $1.3 billion in the third quarter.Fannie Mae needs the extra money to eliminate the company’s net worth deficit of $2.5 billion.
  • The Health and Human Services Department is handing out it’s first fines under a new HIPAA privacy rule. HHS has fined Cignet Health Care $1.3 million for denying dozens of patients access to their medical records and then obstructing an agency probe. Infosecurity reports, Cignet was fined another $3 million for failing to cooperate with investigators. The privacy rule requires health providers to supply a patient with their medical records within 30 days of the patient’s request.
  • The former treasurer of what had been one of the country’s largest privately held mortgage lenders has pleaded guilty to a nearly $2 billion fraud conspiracy that authorities say contributed to the company’s failure. Forty-five-year-old Desiree Brown of Hernando, Fla., faces up to 30 years when she is sentenced in June. She was an executive at Florida-based Taylor, Bean and Whitaker, which filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Prosecutors say the scheme included an attempt to defraud the federal government’s TARP program out of $570 million. Brown and her attorney declined comment after Thursday’s hearing. The former CEO of the company, Lee Bentley Farkas, is scheduled to go on trial in April.

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Coming up today on In Depth with Francis Rose:

Today at 1pm on In Depth with Francis Rose to talk about the award of the tanker contract and leadership in the military in tough budget times, will be retired Air Force General Richard Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Join Francis from 1 to 3 pm on 1500 AM or on your computer.


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