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Shows & Panels
Monday - Friday, 6-9 a.m.
Hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp bring you the latest news affecting the federal community each weekday morning, featuring interviews with top government executives and contractors. Listen live from 6 to 9 a.m. or download archived interviews on our daily show blogs.
Wednesday federal headlines - November 6, 2013
Wednesday - 11/6/2013, 8:13am EST
- HealthCare.gov was again front and center on Capitol Hill. Marilyn Tavenner,
the director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, says the crippled
website is now able to handle 17,000 users per hour. She wouldn't tell lawmakers
how many citizens have signed up for health care insurance using it. When the site
is fixed, Tavenner says Health and Human Services will launch a media blitz to
talk it up. Meantime, security concerns bedevil the site. A North Carolina
man logged on and got the personal information of someone from South Carolina.
President Obama says federal procurement rules are
partly to blame for the launch failure. (Federal News Radio)
- The Homeland Security Department's embattled acting inspector general is once
again under the gun. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tells Federal Times, Charles
Edwards needs to resign.
She says her oversight committee has documented instances of inappropriate
behavior. McCaskill says IG reports are tempered by what she calls inappropriate
influence. The subcommittee's top Republican, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), agrees.
He promises hearings. Edwards has expressed confidence he'll be cleared of any
wrongdoing. President Obama has yet to nominate a permanent inspector general.
- Military pay is on the table as the Defense Department tries to realign its strategy in light of
budget constraints. In a speech yesterday, Defense Secretary Chuck
Hagel called the budget cuts known as sequestration "too fast, too abrupt and too
irresponsible." He outlined six focus areas. He says the military will play a
lesser role in foreign policy in the coming years. But, he says it must continue
to invest in far-reaching technologies. Hagel also referred to institutional
reforms, including plans to cut headquarters staff. (Federal News Radio)
- More members of Congress are backing changes to military law to stem the tide
of sexual assault incidents. A bipartisan group has introduced a relatively modest
bill to protect victims in pre-trial hearings from aggressive lines of
questioning. The lawmakers say the so-called Article 32 hearings end up putting
victims on trial and deterring others from coming forward to report assaults. Some
members are pushing for a greater overhaul of military law, including stripping
commanders of the ability to overturn guilty convictions. (Sen. Barbara Boxer)
- Maybe it was the shutdown, but fewer than expected federal employees filed for
retirement last month. The Office of Personnel Management says 7,500 feds applied.
The relatively low number let the agency chip away at its backlog.
It now stands at 14,000 cases, down from 41,000 in February. OPM expects new
retirement numbers to stay low before a swell in January. The retirement services
division kept plugging away during the shutdown. It does not rely on annual
appropriations. (Federal News Radio)
- Lawmakers want to change overtime rules for federal agents in light of
allegations that Homeland Security employees are abusing the program. The National
Border Patrol Council says Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-
Utah) will introduce a pay reform bill. The union says Congress should pass it
quickly. But in the meantime, it says, the Border Patrol needs to use Administratively
Uncontrollable Overtime, or AUO, to make sure the border remains secure 24-7.
- Car sharing a la ZipCar could be coming to your agency. The General Services
Administration is asking industry for advice on alternatives to leasing or buying
to supply car fleets to agencies. A request for information cites a need for alternatives to
taxicabs or rental cars for federal employees who need transportation
intermittently. GSA plans an industry day Nov. 18 to hear from companies with
experience in car sharing. The agency also plans to launch car sharing tests
in Washington, Boston, New York and Chicago. (GSA)