Monday federal headlines – July 14, 2014

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • More small-business subcontractors should get paid faster now. President Barack Obama is renewing and expanding a policy in which the government pays its contractors faster, so those contractors can pay their subs faster too. The White House says QuickPay has generated more than $1 billion for small businesses, freeing up their capital to invest and hire new workers. It has only been available temporarily to subcontractors. The guidelines call for agencies to pay small-business contractors within 15 days of receiving invoices and other documentation. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Barack Obama has nominated Anne Rung to be the White House procurement chief, making good on murmurs first reported back in March. For the past couple of months, Rung has been serving as a special adviser at the Office of Management and Budget. Before that, she spent a few years overseeing acquisition at the General Services Administration and handling administration at the Commerce Department. The corner office at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy has been vacant for about seven months since former administrator Joe Jordan left for the private sector. Deputy Leslie Field has been running the office. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Barack Obama has nominated a slew of folks for top jobs. Among those that caught our eye: John Francis Tefft to be the U.S. ambassador to Russia and Sharon Block to join the National Labor Relations Board. According to the American Foreign Service Association, more than 50 U.S. embassies around the world lack ambassadors. That’s because the Senate has stalled on confirming many of the President’s nominees. Some have been waiting for more than 10 months. That’s not likely to happen to Tefft, who would take the job at a critical time in U.S.-Russian relations. Tefft has been at the RAND Corporation for about a year but spent decades in the foreign service before that. Past stints include Ambassador to Ukraine and to Georgia and jobs at the U.S. embassy in Moscow dating as far back as Soviet times. The United States hasn’t had a ambassador to Russia since February, when Michael McFaul left to return to his family and job at Stanford University. As for Sharon Block, her nomination is likely to stir controversy once again over the National Labor Relations Board. Block was one of three board members that President Obama appointed during a Congressional recess in 2012. The Supreme Court ruled last month that the recess appointments were unconstitutional. Block has a long history with the NLRB. She’s also worked at the Labor Department and on the Hill for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. (White House)
  • The federal agency that insures company pensions for more than 40 million Americans says its top official is resigning. Joshua Gotbaum, a former investment banker, was appointed by President Barack Obama as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. in July 2010. That makes him the longest-serving head of the agency in its history, the PBGC said in a news release Friday. During his tenure, the agency’s deficit — the gap between pension obligations and assets available to cover them — widened to about $34 billion as the weak economy triggered more corporate bankruptcies and failed pension plans. Gotbaum will step down in August, the agency said. No further information was given, and agency spokesmen didn’t immediately return a message requesting it. (Associated Press)
  • Senators tell the Defense Department, if you don’t want those trucks and humvees, give them to firefighters. Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) got 23 other Senators to co-sign a letter to Secretary Chuck Hagel. They take issue with the department’s new ban on transferring diesel- powered equipment to local fire departments, police and first responders. DoD says the trucks and generators might not meet federal emissions standards. Local firefighters depend on getting about $150 million worth of surplus federal equipment each year. (Senate)