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Thursday federal headlines - Oct. 25, 2012
Thursday - 10/25/2012, 8:34am 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.
- Federal employees: Time may be running out on a rule that lets you spend more
than the per-diem rate on hotels in expensive cities.
The General Services Administration just published a proposal in the Federal Register. It would end the "conference
lodging allowance" that's been in place for twelve years. The rule has let feds
spend up to 125 percent of per-diem on lodging when they attend federal
conferences. Agency officials do not have to approve of the request. GSA says this
proposal would let agencies get a "firmer grasp" on how their travel dollars are
used. It says travelers should consider staying in cheaper hotels away from the
conference site. (Federal Register)
- The Energy Department did a fine job of limiting employee travel, per White
House orders. But it forgot about contractors, who take most of DOE's government-
paid trips. That's the chief finding of a new Energy inspector general report.
Contractors make up 86 percent of Energy's 116,000 people. They also take 85
percent of the trips. IG Gregory Friedman says Energy officials should pay
particular attention to overseas travel by contractors. In the five year period
studied, contractors took 90 thousand overseas trips at a cost of 360 million
dollars. DOE management agreed with the report's recommendations and say
they're already taking action. (Federal News Radio)
- The General Services Administration is trying to jump start a stalled database project meant
for use by the entire government. The System for Award Management, or SAM, went
online July 31. But it barely works. Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini has
moved responsibility for SAM away from the Office of Governmentwide Policy. He's
given it to CIO Casey Colman and acting acquisition chief Mary Davie. Davie says
she and contractor IBM are analyzing trouble tickets to see what's wrong. SAM
tries to combine eight separate databases dealing with contractors and
procurement. (Federal News Radio)
- CIA chief David Petraeus is applauding the conviction of a former officer for
leaking classified information.
John Kiriakou pled guilty to revealing the identity of an
undercover CIA officer to a reporter.
He agreed to serve 2-1/2 years in prison. In a message to staff, Petraeus says the
case shows: oaths matter and there are consequences for those who break them. It
is the first successful prosecution under the Intelligence Identities Protection
Act in 27 years. (CIA)
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement is returning 4,000
archeological items to Mexico.
They'll be displayed during a ceremony today at the Mexican consulate in El Paso.
The items mostly date from before Europeans landed in the Americas. They include
pre-Columbian stones used to grind corn...statues...copper hatchets and figurines.
Customs agents and investigators seized them in El Paso, Phoenix, Chicago, Denver,
San Diego and San Antonio. (Associated Press)
- The blue chips are railing against the red ink. CEOs from 80 large U.S.
corporations are telling Congress to get its act together. They urge action to
reduce the deficit and cut spending. The Wall Street Journal reports, the
CEOs will issue a formal statement today. They'll urge tax reform, limiting growth
in health care spending, and making Social Security solvent. They support
broadening the taxpayer base but reducing rates. The CEOs will tell Congress it
should increase revenues only if that's accompanied by spending restraint.
(Wall Street Journal)