Monday Morning Federal Newscast - October 18th

Monday - 10/18/2010, 9:01am 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 users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The federal government is facing tough fiscal time and President Obama isn't ruling out furloughs and leaving vacant federal jobs unfilled. Mr. Obama tells the Washington Post the government needs to tighten its belt, like people and companies around the country are doing. He says the goal is to achieve the best possible service at the lowest possible price to taxpayers. But he also says any belt-tightening will come with careful planning.

  • It's official. The federal deficit for the just-ended fiscal 2010 was $1.3 trillion, or $1.294 trillion to be precise. The good news: That's $122 billion less that last year's deficit. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said lower-than-expected outlays for the Troubled Asset Relief Program helped keep the deficit from rising. Also costing the government less than predicted: Bailouts of mortgage giants Fannie May and Freddie Mac.

  • Federal contractor CSC has topped a list of companies receiving billions of dollars in federal contracts after violating wage, health and safety laws. Bloomberg reports the company failed to pay more than 250 employees the wages and benefits they were owed. The list from GAO covers a sample of contracts awarded in fiscal 2009. But auditors did not name companies. Those names have now been released by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), who has criticized the government for giving contracts to firms that don't meet required standards.

  • The president signs a bill that changes how the government manages pay and work hours for members of the Secret Service Uniformed Division. The new law authorizes Homeland Security to fix and adjust basic pay rates. It also authorizes higher rates of pay for what the White House calls people with superior qualifications.

  • No paperwork, no support. That's what the House Armed Services Committee tells Defense Secretary Robert Gates about the Pentagon plan to close the Joint Forces Command. Congress Daily reports, without detailed documentation of the anticipated savings, committee chairman Ike Skelton says Gates can expect no financial or legislative support for the move. The tough stance comes at the request of members of the Virginia congressional delegation. Skelton also tells Gates to provide more documentation on proposed closing of the Business Transformation, and Network and Information Integration offices.

  • President Obama has signed a bill that aims to streamline presidential transitions. The Pre-Election Transition Act directs the General Services Administration to give eligible presidential and vice-presidential candidate a broad range of services, including fully-equipped office space and help with security clearances. The law amends the 1963 Presidential Transition Act.

  • The administration is reviewing an Australian program that will allow Internet service providers to alert customers if their computers are taken over by hackers. Under the down-under program, the ISP could limit online access for customers who don't clean up their computers. The Austrialia plan goes into effect in December. White House cyber security coordinator Howard Schmidt tells the Associated Press, the United States is looking at a number of voluntary ways to help the public and small businesses better protect themselves online. But any move toward Internet regulation or monitoring by the federal government or industry could trigger fierce opposition from the public.

  • Texas is the first state to fully adopt a federal program to curb illegal immigration. The Secure Communities project scans local jails for illegal immigrants by routing prisoners' fingerprints to the Homeland Security Department. The goal is to find those suspected of serious crimes such as homicide or kidnapping. All counties are supposed to use the program by 2013. The Wall Street Journal reports, immigrant groups and lawyers oppose Secure Communities, saying it unfairly snares immigrants with no history of serious crime.

  • The Air Force is about to quadruple its production of solar power. Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, has awarded a contract for electricity from a 14.5-megawatt photo-voltaic array on 130 acres of base property. It will supply a third of the power used on the base. And Luke Air Force Base, also in Arizona, has signed a deal with Arizona Public Service Company for a 15 megawatt array on 100 acres. It will supply half the base power. These two new solar arrays join a 14 megawatt already in operation at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Nellis and the Air Combat Command plan to construct a 17-megawatt phase-two project in 2012.