Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast - July 27

Wednesday - 7/27/2011, 10:22am EDT

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.

  • House lawmakers have filed a clean extension of Federal Aviation Administration funding. Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said the bill would fund the FAA in the short-term, ending a current partial shutdown. The Hill reports, the proposal does not include sticking points like cutting grants for rural air service. A longer-term bill is bogged down by a House effort to undo some rules for unionization of railroad and airline employees. 4,000 FAA workers are in their third day of furloughs. No word on when this plan could be voted on. (The Hill)

  • So far, your pay and benefits are safe. The House and Senate debt proposals released Monday do not contain specific language reducing federal employees' compensation. GovExec reports, the plans also don't spell out specific cuts in social security or Medicare. But that doesn't mean they won't. Changes to pay or benefits could still occur when the two sides sit down to reconcile their proposals. Among the possibilities - another year of a pay freeze and a larger employee contribution to the federal retirement fund. (GovExec)

  • Proposed changes to the federal workers' compensation program could result in lower benefits, according to federal employee groups at a Senate subcommittee hearing. Federal union leaders welcomed a review of FECA but claimed the proposed changes are oversimplified and could harm injured workers. Lawmakers said FECA has not been significantly updated in 40 years and needs to be changed. (Federal News Radio)

  • The global security company once known as Blackwater is moving its corporate headquarters from North Carolina to Arlington, Virginia. Xe Services said 20 people will make the move to foster relationships with customers in and around Washington. Under the Blackwater name, the firm provided guards and services to the federal government in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It drew harsh criticism from members of Congress and others after a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that killed 17 people. (Federal News Radio)

  • An industry commission urged the government to revise its procurement policies to speed the move to cloud computing. Agencies should be able to move money more freely between procurement and operational accounts, the commission said. Also among the recommendations, Congress should pass a law clarifying who is responsible for data breaches. The Commission, called Cloud2, is sponsored by the Tech America Foundation. In all, the Commission came up with 14 recommendations. (Federal News Radio)

  • Congressional websites have been crashing amid public response to the debt ceiling impasse. President Barack Obama, in his speech to the nation earlier this week, asked the American public to let members of Congress know what they think about the budget debate, and they answered the call with visits to congressional websites. The Washington Post reports, since the speech at least nine websites for House and Senate leaders went down. And it's not just websites. House telephone circuits were near capacity too. (Washington Post)

  • Homeland Security has pulled the plug on its next generation radiation detectors. The Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP) was meant to check for nuclear and other radiological material in cargo but the project had significant technical issues. A GAO report found it would take $300 million over four years to re-test and fix. Gov Exec reports DHS hoped to deploy 1,400 machines to ports of entry around the country. (GovExec)

  • The flag comes down at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in northwest D.C. today. Walter Reed has been the Army's flagship hospital since 1909. Now, it moves to Bethesda. Hundreds of thousands of wounded Americans have received treatment at Walter Reed. The Georgia Avenue landmark has served privates up to top generals such as Dwight Eisenhower and John Pershing. By September, it will house parts of the State Department and the D.C. government. A Base Realignment and Closure Commission order combines Walter Reed with the National Naval Medical Center on Rockville Pike. (Federal News Radio)

  • Metro starts new and modified bus service Aug. 8 in Northern Virginia to help ease the anticipated traffic gridlock expected with BRAC. The new and modified bus service will start running between the Pentagon and Mark Center in Alexandria and around Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County. These new bus routes could provide a much needed alternative to driving. (WTOP)