Thursday Morning Federal Newscast - Nov.4th

Thursday - 11/4/2010, 8:43am 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 Republican power shift in the House could set up a battle over the defense budget. The Ranking Member on the Armed Services Committee, Republican Howard (Buck) McKeon, has begun campaigning to take the chairman's post now that his party has control of the House. And the National Journal reports that he's criticizing the president's plans to slow historic growth in the Pentagon's budget. McKeon also says the defense secretary's plan to redirect savings in overhead expenses to higher-priority programs may not cover necessary costs and investments.

  • Intelligence reforms could give the director of national intelligence more control of his budget. James Clapper says that he's reached a conceptual agreement with the Pentagon to move $50 billion for intelligence spending out of the defense budget and into his own. Federal Times reports that money is currently hidden in the Defense appropriation. Clapper says the transfer will be a part of the 20-13 budget process.

  • The Pentagon has kicked its new cyber command into full swing. DOD says the command has reached full operational capability. The new division takes responsibility for defending DOD networks. It's headed by NSA Director General Keith Alexander.

  • It is an unprecedented lawsuit by the federal government. The Labor Department wants to close a mine operated by Massey Energy Company for continually violating safety laws. This is the first time Labor has sought an injunction to protect coal miners. The lawsuit seeks to close the Freedom Energy Mine number one in Kentucky until the company fixes safety violations, like ventilation, roof supports, and fire hazards. It also asks that employees continue to be paid, even while the mine is closed. Massey has 21 days to respond. The company says it might close the mine anyway because it is too big to maintain properly.

  • Space shuttle Discovery won't be lifting off today. Stormy weather has postponed the mission. The official forecast is 80 percent "no go," but mission managers will re-evaluate the weather later today for the scheduled afternoon liftoff. Discovery's final mission already has been delayed by gas leaks and an electrical problem.

  • A hurricane warning has been issued for Haiti. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Tomas is about 315 miles away from Haiti and could strengthen to a hurricane before it's expected to strike Friday. But first Tomas is threatening Jamaica, which could be hit with tropical storm-force winds. The Haitian government has called for the voluntary evacuation of all the quake zone's camps ahead of Friday's expected arrival of Tropical Storm Tomas, telling residents to find somewhere else to go.

  • If you want tickets to the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony this year, plan on staying up late tonight. Tickets for the general public will be awarded through an online lottery starting at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (ET). The lottery at www.thenationaltree.org will accept applications through Sunday. There's also a phone number (877-444-6777 or for TDD 877-833-6777) for those who don't have online access. Tickets are free. There are only 3,000 ticketed seats and 10,000 standing room tickets being offered.

  • It's the first Thursday of November so everyone knows: it's National Men Make Dinner Day. It's meant for men that never cook, and might not even know how, as a treat for their wives or girlfriends. The official website even reassures you that it's okay to wear a tool belt while cooking, you can use a recipe that includes beer, and while you may score points with your wife, the best part is "Whoever is cooking always gets the most attention from the dog."

THIS AFTERNOON ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

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