Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast - Dec. 1st

Wednesday - 12/1/2010, 9:30am EST

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.

Wicked weather is pounding the area. A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Southern Maryland until 7:30 a.m. A tornado watch is in effect 10 a.m. for D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia. Heavy rain, hail, wind gusts up to 70 mph and dangerous lightning are possible. Complete traffic and weather details available on wtop.com

  • Pay freezes for federal employees aren't the end of deficit cutting. Now the administration has announced locality pay in 2011 for civilian federal employees will remain at the same levels as 2010. In a letter to Congress, President Obama said freezing locality pay would not affect the government's ability to attract high quality workers. Locality pay is the differential a worker receives above base pay as a result of living in a more expensive area.

  • A final report is due out from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform today. The group's chairmen, promise their final recommendation will be even stronger than the draft released last month. That draft included over $100-billion in domestic cuts as well as deep defense spending cuts. The final plan, members say, will include at least $3.8 trillion in savings. The 14 members of the panel still need to hold a final vote on their recommendations. That final vote is slated for Friday.

  • The Food and Drug Administration would get new powers over food safety, if a bill passed by the Senate becomes law. FDA could order recalls and more closely track fruit and vegetable shipments. It could also require food manufacturers to submit safety plans. But producers who sell food locally and have annual revenues of less than $500,000 would be exempt from many of the provisions. The Wall Street Journal reports, the House is expected top pass the Senate version. But there may not be time for that in the lame duck session.

  • Airlines that fly to the US will no longer be responsible for matching the names of passengers against the terror watch list. The Transportation Security Administration says the move will reduce false matches and prevent attacks. With the new rule in place, all 197 airlines must submit the names, genders and birthdates of passengers to the TSA. Those passengers are then checked against the terror watch list before they can fly. The program - called 'Secure Flight' - was delayed for years because of privacy concerns. It was one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

  • Audits by the Office of Personnel Management, are finding problems with the way some Combined Federal Campaign charities are raising money. The FederalTimes reports of 17 CFCs audited recently, almost all were flagged for fiscal mismanagement or budget issues by OPM. The audits reveals tens of thousands of dollars in un-allowable expenses and other budget issues, but both the Inspector General's office and OPM officials acknowledge it's part of a broader management problem. CFCs generated almost $283 million in pledges from federal employees and military members during its 2009 fund-raising drive.

  • A rewrite of a government performance law will allow contractors to continue providing crucial administrative support to agencies. The bipartisan Government Performance and Results Modernization Act defined creation of required reports as inherently governmental. But contractors and some agencies worried that banning use of contractors to help develop performance plans would be be too severe. GovExec reports, compromise language has kept the bipartisan bill on track by permitting contractor support.

More news links

Social Security cuts are part of deficit plan

Army fighting fat, embracing health foods, fitness

FCC preparing to vote on network neutrality rules

Colo. postal worker sentenced for swiping packages

Unmanned Air Force space plane to return to Earth

THIS AFTERNOON ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** The deficit commission unveils its proposals today. Federal News Radio's Jason Miller will report on the provisions that will impact agencies.

** And we'll continue coverage of the Obama administration's proposed federal pay freeze. One of the challenges -- how do you manage in the era of austerity? And manage amid the fear of cutbacks. We'll talk to an expert.

Join Chris from 3 to 7 pm on 1500 AM or on your computer.