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Hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp bring you the latest news affecting the federal community each weekday morning, featuring interviews with top government executives and contractors. Listen live from 6 to 9 a.m. or download archived interviews on our daily show blogs.
Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast - May 5th, 2010
Wednesday - 5/5/2010, 9:03am EDT
- A bill introduced in the House yesterday would let the Office of Personnel Management extend health insurance to adult children of federal employees this year. Under health care reform legislation, benefits must be available until the child turns 26, but the law left a gap in coverage between September 2010 and January 2011. The FEHBP Dependent Coverage Extension Act would close that gap. Sponsors include Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Gerry Connolly of Virginia, delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia and Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania.
- Workplace flexibility takes a new form in June. That's when the Office of Personnel Management will launch a results-only pilot project. 400 OPM workers will be allowed to work whenever and wherever they want, as long as they get the job done. The pilots will be conducted in Washington and Boyers, Pennsylvania.
- NASA Chief of Staff George Whitesides is stepping down. Space.com reports, the former executive director of the National Space Society will be replaced on May 10th by David Radzanowski, a former White House Office of Management and Budget official who joined NASA in 2006. Radzanowski currently serves as deputy associate administrator for program integration within NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate. Whitesides served on President Barack Obama's NASA transition team and was one of the president's first political appointees to the agency.
- A multi-billion dollar opportunity for technology contractors is about to open: Homeland Security plans to release its draft solicitation for the Eagle 2 follow-on contract on May 17th. It's for technology services.
- The Social Security Administration is looking to the Web and video technology as it faces a mounting workload. NextGov reports the agency will set up a Web system to confirm the identities of people who apply for benefits. Social Security's chief information officers says the agency is also testing remote video connections to help administrative law judges make quicker decisions on disability benefits. Commissioner Michael Astrue expects claims for disability, survivor, retirement and dependent benefits to reach more than 1 million, as baby boomers hit retirement age.
- The Interior Department exempted BP's Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year. The Washington Post reports that the Federal Government conducted three reviews of the area and concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely. The decision by the department's Minerals Management Service gave BP's lease at Deepwater Horizon a exclusion from the National Environmental Policy Act on April 6, 2009. Just 11 days before the explosion BP was lobbying to expand the company's exemptions.
- The Defense Travel System is at the heart of a fraud case at Walter Reed. A former administrative assistant there could face ten years in prison for stealing government money. The US Attorney's office says 29 year old Ronnita Dunbar of Bowie admitted she stole $165 thousand dollars in cash by creating 22 fictitious travel reservations using the Defense department's travel system between 2004 and 2008. She may actually serve a year to 18 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
- For the eighth year in a row, the House as approved a measure renaming the Department of the Navy as the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps. Sponsored by North Carolina Republican Walter Jones, the bill passed on a voice vote. It has never met success in the Senate, where, this year, a similar bill has three known supporters.
- President Obama has proclaimed tomorrow, May 6, the National Day of Prayer. The proclamation was made despite a controversial April 15 ruling by a federal judge who said the government encouraging its citizens to pray violates the First Amendment.
Coming up today on The Daily Debrief:
** This morning on the Federal Drive, you heard about the SAMMIES finalists. This afternoon, we'll hear from one of them -- and if you ever have days when you wonder why you do what you do, join us this afternoon. We'll talk to somebody who literally made a difference on the ground in Haiti.
** And posting budget data -- we'll get some lessons from state and local governments.
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