Tuesday morning federal headlines - Nov. 1

Tuesday - 11/1/2011, 8:38am 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 General Services Administration doesn't want its employees to come to work. A new policy signed by Administrator Martha Johnson makes telework the standard mode for most employees. She said the new policy assumes very few people need to be at the office day-to-day. Nearly eight in 10 GSA workers telework at least once a week, far more than the average federal agency. The Office of Personnel Management, National Science Foundation and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation also have high percentages of teleworkers. (Federal News Radio)

  • There are mixed results as two dozen federal agencies and departments release their sustainability score cards. The Treasury Department, GSA and the Environmental Protection Agency were the only three agencies to earn all green marks on their respective score cards. Nearly all agencies have made progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But 13 agencies still get red marks for their green building goals. (Federal News Radio)

  • They've spent three years trying to overhaul federal contracting. Now Congress and the administration are focusing on federal grants. At $600 billion, the government spends more on grants every year than it does on procurements. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is planning a series of hearings to make the grants process more transparent. Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told Federal News Radio he wants more accountability in grant-making.The Office of Management and Budget has also merged two grant oversight boards into a new Council on Financial Assistance Reform. (Federal News Radio)

  • Budget pressures could stop all new federal construction, according to GSA Administrator Martha Johnson. She told attendees of the Green Gov Symposium that the likely 2012 budget picture means no new buildings, Federal Times reports. GSA's new construction funding fell 91 percent in 2011. For 2012, it faces a new construction budget of zero if House of Representative numbers prevail. GSA's federal building fund, which the agency uses to pay rent and maintain buildings, has also dropped. (Federal Times)

  • The White House has made its pick for a new deputy secretary of commerce. President Obama wants to confirm Dr. Rebecca Blank, now serving as the acting deputy secretary at Commerce. Dr. Blank currently oversees the two top statistical agencies in the United States: the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. She's been acting deputy secretary for about a year. She also served as acting secretary for a number of months until the confirmation of John Bryson as the current secretary. (White House)

  • CACI International has landed a $350 million contract with the intelligence community. The contractor announced that it is delivering professional services and IT solutions to the federal government's intelligence organizations, which were previously unannounced contracts with the federal government. The work includes $245 million in new business and more than $100 million in recompetes. CACI is providing services in collection, analysis, training, analytic-tool development and knowledge management. (CACI)

  • President Obama has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to get out in front of drug shortages. He said he wants the agency to issue earlier warnings of impending shortages and see what can be done to prevent them. The president described drug shortages as a slow-rolling problem that could spell disaster for seriously ill patients. Hospitals have reported price-gouging because of low drug supplies.They've reported shortages of chemotherapy drugs, anesthetics and saline bags used for intensive care feeding. Fifteen people nationwide have died. (Federal News Radio)

  • Boeing is taking over one of NASA's old space shuttle hangars. The contractor is building a new capsule that they hope will take astronauts to orbit in four or five years, the Associated Press reports. More than 100 Boeing, NASA and state and federal officials gathered in the massive empty hangar, called Orbiting Processing Facility Number Three, for the announcement. This is a first-of-its-kind agreement allowing a private company to take over the government property. NASA is counting on companies like Boeing to ferry cargo and astronauts to and from the International Space Station in three to five years. (AP)