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Shows & Panels
Thursday morning federal headlines - July 5
Thursday - 7/5/2012, 8:28am EDT
The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp 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 Army says it has enough tanks.
Officials thought suspending production for a few years would be an easy way to
save money as the military faces sharp spending cuts. But Congress begs to differ.
Some Ohio lawmakers are trying to restore funds for the Army to keep buying Abrams
tanks made in that state.
About 800 welders and machinists are caught in the middle. General Dynamics
operates the plant for the government.
It says it would be cheaper to keep the plant open with minimal production than
shut it down and restart it. But the Army says not all that money should come from
the United States. It suggests the plant could fill orders from other countries.
(Federal News Radio)
- The Veterans Affairs Department has called a moratorium on downgrading low-wage
service workers at its health care facilities. Protestors had staged a march
from VA headquarters to Lafayette Square in front of the White House last month.
Many of the employees were represented by the American Federation of Government
Employees. AFGE's Northern Virginia Council president Alma Lee reported the VA's
change in stance. The department's HR Management Office issued a letter calling
for a temporary stand-down on changes to lower graded actions. It agreed to
establish a classification oversight working group. VA did not immediately respond
to a request for comments. (Federal News Radio)
- While other agencies close regional offices in attempts to save money, the
Patent and Trademark Office is moving in the opposite direction. For the first
time, the office will expand operations beyond the Beltway.
It plans to open four satellite branches. A Detroit office opens next week,
followed by operations in Dallas, Denver and Silicon Valley. The expansion is
mandated by a new law aimed to modernized the patent system.
The agency says it wants to attract top intellectual-property experts who can work
closely with entrepreneurs, as it tries to catch up on about 640,000 unexamined
patent applications. (U.S. Patent and Trade)
- Computer giant Dell has acquired Quest Software.
Dell, a major federal contractor, wants to expand its service business. Quest
publishes identity management and access control applications, and system
performance tools. It also has a large federal presence. Dell paid 2.4 billion
dollars for Quest, beating out a private venture firm. Dell did about 1.8 billion
dollars in federal sales last year, according to Washington Technology. The
company's total 2011 sales reached 61 billion dollars. (Federal News Radio)
- Prosecutors are not filing criminal
charges against former Commerce Secretary John Bryson. They say a seizure led
Bryson to get into three car accidents on June 9. Bryson had hit one car twice,
spoke briefly with the occupants and then drove on to hit another vehicle a few
minutes later. Police found him unconscious in his Lexus. They had cited him for
felony hit-and-run. But tests did not show any signs of alcohol or drugs...except
for a sleeping pill...and two doctors had diagnosed Bryson with a stroke. He
resigned from the Commerce Department two weeks ago, saying he did not want his
health to interfere with his job. (Federal News Radio)
- Base realignment and closure, or BRAC, turned out to be a lot more expensive than the
Pentagon predicted. A new GAO report pegs the cost of the most recent BRAC
round at 35 billion dollars. That's 67 percent more than original estimates. GAO
says the main culprit is construction costs. The National Geospatial Intelligence
Agency's new headquarters more than doubled in cost to 2.6 billion dollars. The
latest BRAC round started in 2005. It involved more than 800 locations and 125
thousand people. The Pentagon doesn't expect to see financial payback until 2025.
(Federal News Radio)
- U.S. forces in Afghanistan are starting today, to reroute supplies through Pakistan. They're ending a seven-month run of using a longer and more expensive route to avoid that country. Pakistan agreed to let the United States use its supply routes after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized for an incident that took place last November. 24 Pakistani troops were killed by U.S. forces. Causes of the incident are still in dispute. But the round-about supply routing has cost the military billions in fuel and other costs. Last month the Pentagon asked Congress to reprogram funds to cover the logistics overruns. (Federal News Radio)