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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.
Monday federal headlines - December 2, 2013
Monday - 12/2/2013, 8:19am EST
- The legal battle between two technology industry trade groups has ratcheted
up. Sued by TechAmerica, the IT Industry Council is counter-suing. It calls the
TechAmerca suit "fatally deficient" and "nebulous." ITI is asking the Superior
Court of D.C. to dismiss the other group's actions. At issue are four key
employees who left TechAmerica abruptly to join ITI last month. TechAmerica is
also suing three of the four employees. It claims breach of contract and seeks $5
million in damages. The two organizations are vying to be the pre-eminent voice on
Capitol Hill for the IT industry and legislation covering IT procurement.
(Federal News Radio)
- It's one thing to want to buy sustainable, green products. How to do it
— that's the challenge. The General Services Administration and the EPA are
asking industry for
comments on how commercial environmental standards could be used by the
government. They're looking for insight on whether existing standards and labels
used to mark products are effective. Jim Jones, EPA's assistant administrator for
chemicals and pollution prevention, says the effort will help both the government
and consumers meet their sustainability goals. Comments are due by Feb. 25.
(Federal News Radio)
- The Health and Human Services Department says HealthCare.gov is working, mostly. A progress report came out Sunday
from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It says the site has had
hundreds of code fixes, and that its capacity is stable at its intended level. It
can handle 50,000 simultaneous users. HealthCare.gov is the centerpiece of the
Affordable Care Act. It crashed when it rolled out Oct. 1. Some days it was down
60 percent of the time. Since then, a team of administration and contractor
plumbers has been working around the clock to fix it. But the administration
acknowledges the site remains a work in progress. The next hurdle comes Dec. 23.
That's the deadline for people to sign up for insurance to begin next year.
- The State Department has a permanent inspector general for the first time in
nearly six years. Secretary of State John Kerry has sworn in Steve Linick. The former prosecutor also served as
inspector general of the Federal Housing Financial Agency. The last Senate-
confirmed State IG, Howard Krongard, left in January 2008. He was accused of
interfering with an investigation into waste and corruption in Iraq. (State
- The head of a small agency charged with improving labor-management relations
is stepping down. Federal Times reports George Cohen will
resign from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service by the end of the
year. Cohen will turn 80 years old. In a statement, he says his decision came
before news of a Congressional probe. The House Oversight Committee is looking
into charges of retaliation against a whistleblower. A senior manager says she was
put on administrative leave after reporting abuse of government purchase cards.
- The military is readying a ship to destroy Syria's most dangerous chemicals. The
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says the chemicals will be
rounded up and transferred to the U.S. ship by the end of the year. Then, the
military will neutralize them through a
process developed by the Pentagon but never used in a real operation. The OPCW
says the United States is modifying the vessel now. (Associated Press)
- When it gets back to work next Monday, the Senate will again face an issue
that's had it stymied all year — the 2014 Defense authorization bill. The
House passed its version in June. But the Senate has stalled because of a dispute
between Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican members over amendments. The
Hill reports the Senate has only a slim chance of resolving the bill this calendar
year. Defense News reports Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin is
pessimistic about a deal before both chambers disperse for the year on Dec. 13.
- Two lawmakers are lobbying their colleagues on Capitol Hill to honor the
forerunners of the CIA before it's too late. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep.
Robert Latta (R-Ohio) want the Congressional Gold Medal to go to the
operatives of the Office of Strategic Services. They played a key role in World
War II, spying on the axis powers and inventing special equipment like scuba gear.
Of the original 13,000 employees, it's thought that a few hundred are still
living. Many of them are in their nineties. The Congressional Gold Medal is the
highest honor given to civilians. This year, it went to Native American code
talkers for the role they played in World War II. (Associated Press)