Tuesday Morning Federal Newscast - October 5th

Tuesday - 10/5/2010, 9:18am 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.

  • The U.S. military has ordered less dependence on fossil fuels after an increase in attacks on U.S. fuel supplies in Afghanistan. A Marine company has arrived in Helmand Province with portable solar panels, energy-conserving lights, solar tent shields and solar chargers for computers and communications equipment. The New York Times reports huge truck convoys hauling fuel to bases have been sitting ducks for enemy fighters. One soldier or civilian is killed for every 24 fuel convoys that set out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Users of the NASA SEWP contract will pay a lower fee starting November 1st. SEWP Program Manager Joanne Woytek says the fee will drop to 0.45 percent, down from 0.5 percent. Woytek also says the fees will be capped at $10,000 per task order. Woytek made the announcement at the monthly AFCEA Bethesda breakfast.

  • They have a plan. Now, they have to put it into action. The Postal Service Inspector General's Office has released a comprehensive study that looks at the pension and retiree health funds. The IG says the funds are overfunded, which is a huge part of the Postal Service's economic problems. They recommend the Postal Service recover the $75 billion in overfunds to the Civil Service Retirement System, and use that money to eliminate Postal's $10 billion debt.

  • Congressional auditors say federal agencies paid more than $6 billion last year to contractors with a history of labor law violations. The Government Accountability Office says at least 15 companies have been cited in the past five years for breaking a number of laws. Those laws address wages, health and safety and collective bargaining. GAO's report doesn't offer any recommendations.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's is doing too little to protect industrial whistleblowers. A new Labor Department inspector general report found that 80 percent of OSHA investigations were incomplete, failing to meet basic performance standards. Written guidance is outdated, and OSHA inspectors too often left whistleblowers vulnerable to retaliation by their employers.

  • Part of Health and Human Services is reorganizing. The agency has established a new Office of Child Care. The new "OCC" will administer the Child Care and Development Fund. It provides child care subsidies for more than one-point-six million children in low-income families. OCC replaces the Child Care Bureau. It elevates child care issues and will work directly with other agencies within HHS on program and policy.

  • Alaskan native company Eyak Technology LLC said it will abandon its acquisition of GTSI, Federal Times reports. Eyak had been prepared to pay 7 dollars, 50 cents per share for GTSI, a major reseller of computer equipment and services to the federal government. But the Small Business Administration has suspended GTSI from receiving new federal business, following findings the company violated small business contracting rules. The violations involved Eyak and another Alaskan company. GTSI has 30 days to challenge the suspension.

  • Hiring by the federal government has accounted for nearly half of the Washington region's job growth over the past year. The Washington Business Journal quotes a quarterly report from Delta Associates as saying that the region's job growth has been propelled to levels that are much higher than ever seen before. The federal government has also indirectly created thousands of private sector jobs through more procurement spending. Washington's annual job growth rate is at 1.4 percent. The national average is about a tenth of a percent.

  • The federal government is making it easier for you to bike to work. OPM, GSA and the Department of Transportation have announced a new federal partnership with DC's Bikeshare program. Feds can use the partnership to get membership in the program. It'll cost you $50 a year. That includes 30 minutes of free use for any given bike. After that, you'll have to pay a fee for every additional half-hour. But don't forget to return your bike. After 24 hours, you'll be charged a $1,000 stolen bike fee.

More news links

$1 billion BRAC mistake: Traffic upends plans for 6,400- person facility (FederalTimes)

VA two years behind schedule on issuing secure ID cards, IG concludes (FCW)