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 FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.
“30 areas ripe for Congress and President Obama to take action.” That’s Comptroller General Gene Dodaro’s take in a NYTimes opinion article on the new High Risk List out from the Government Accountability Office. One new addition to the list this time around is the Interior Department’s management of oil and gas lease royalties. The GAO says they can’t confirm all the money Interior’s supposed to collect is actually being collected. Two programs are off this year’s list: the 2010 Census and the Pentagon’s personnel security clearance program.
President Obama has threatened to veto a continuing resolution that would fund government through the rest of the fiscal year. The House of Representatives is debating amendments to the CR that would cut up to $100 billion dollars in discretionary spending. The White House says if the bill includes earmarks or the President thinks the bill doesn’t help the deficit, he’ll veto it. The current CR runs out March fourth.
“So be it.” That was the answer House speaker John Boehner gave when asked about the possibility of federal job losses as a result of the GOP’s 2011 funding bill. Boehner made the comment during a GOP leadership press conference. He told reporters the President Obama has added 200,000 federal jobs since taking office, and “If some of those jobs are lost, so be it. We’re broke.”
The Federal Workforce Reduction Act is back. GovExec reports Rep. Cynthia Lummis, (R-Wy) has reintroduced the bill. It would freeze hiring governmentwide except at the Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments. Only one hire would be allowed for every two employees who retire or leave federal service and stay in effect as long as there’s a federal deficit.
The Senate on Tuesday voted to uphold the right of TSA employees to vote on collective bargaining rights. The defeated a bill that would have prevented the agency from going union. Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi introduced the Termination of Collective Bargaining for TSA Employees Act. It would prevent more than 40,000 TSA workers from being granted collective bargaining rights.
The Senate has approved a bill that would make it a federal crime punishable by up to a year in prison for misusing body scanner images. The measure would ban security personnel or members of the public from photographing or disseminating those images. Federal security officials have said the body scanners used by TSA workers at airports are not capable of storing, copying or transmitting images.
FEMA lost seven years worth of post-disaster official reports following a computer server failure in May 2010. A DHS report says the agency has not been able to access the data since then. FEMA started creating post-disaster reports in 2003 under the Remedial Action Management Program to pull together information on how the agency responds under pressure. According to the DHS inspector general, reports lost in the database included those on Hurricane Katrina in 2005, California wildfires in 2007 and major floods in 2008.
Open government may not help your agency run better, and might hurt the way you try to meet your mission. The Congressional Research Service says Congress should think about looking at how well the White House’s open government programs work, and whether they’re worth the money they cost. FCW reports CRS analyst Wendy Ginsberg says Congress may decide some open government initiatives do work and are worth the money.
** Getting the best people with the best skills in the age of austerity. The National Defense University’s iCollege is focused on that challenge. We’ll talk to the chancellor of the iCollege about doing more with less.
** And are you watching Jeopardy this week — it’s man versus machine, right? Are there implications for government? We’ll find out