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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 - December 18, 2013
Wednesday - 12/18/2013, 8:05am EST
- The Senate heads for a vote today on a bipartisan budget
authorization bill. Majority Leader Harry Reid says he has the votes to pass it.
Several Republicans say they support the bill engineered by Sen. Patty Murray
(D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The House passed it last week. It raises
federal spending by $45 billion in 2014 but makes up for it with several measures.
These include an increase in pension contributions for newly hired federal
employees. The bill also authorizes 2015 spending. President Obama says he'll sign
it. (Associated Press)
- In his annual report on government waste, Sen. Tom
Coburn (R-Okla.) aims his biggest guns at Congress itself. Wastebook 2013 says
Congress blew $400 million in 2013 to do next to nothing. Lawmakers passed few
laws and failed to complete their budget work on time. The book names 100 programs
with a total cost of $30 billion that Coburn judges to be ill-spent. Even making
money can be wasteful. Coburn cites the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. It spent
$30 million printing its new generation of $100 bills. They came out too smudged
to be used. (Federal News Radio)
- NASA again tops the list of best big agencies to work for. Commerce comes in
second. The rankings
are done by the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte. They're based on
answers to an annual survey by the Office of Personnel Management. The authors say
overall, the rankings reflect a disturbing picture. Federal employees are
increasingly unhappy at work. Trouble can be found at the EPA and the Housing and
Urban Development Department. Employee satisfaction plunged at both agencies. On
the bright side, the FCC, the International Trade Commission and the Federal
Housing Finance Agency bucked the trend and got "most improved" superlatives.
(Federal News Radio)
- When it comes to paychecks, federal employees keep falling behind people doing
the same jobs in the private sector. It's slightly worse this year than last year.
Data presented at a Federal Salary Council meeting shows feds earn, on average, 35
percent less than private-sector counterparts. A 1 percent raise next year could
narrow the gap a little bit. These latest numbers come from the Office of
Personnel Management and the Labor Department. But the pay gap is widely disputed.
Several think tanks have looked at the issue and come up with widely varying
conclusions. (Federal News Radio)
- Kathryn Medina is leaving her position as executive director of
the Chief Human Capital Officers Council. She'll join the public relations firm
APCO Worldwide as its senior human resources executive. Medina has worked at the
Office of Personnel Management since 2009. Her last day at OPM will be Friday,
Jan. 3. She's the third director since the council was formed. She succeeded John
Salamone, who is now with FMP Consulting. In 2011, Medina received Federal News
Radio's Causey Award for excellence in federal government human resources.
(Federal News Radio)
- HealthCare.gov has a new sheriff. Former
Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene will serve as the top adviser to Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. It's a volunteer role. He'll stay on for at
least six months, watching over the continuing fixes to the health insurance
exchange portal. DelBene takes over from Jeff Zients, who is leaving to
head the National Economic Council. Zients says he has met his goal. The site is
working smoothly for most users. (HHS)
- The basic military housing allowance will rise about 5 percent in
2014. That translates to $80 more for rent each month. Cheryl Anne Woehr is the
Pentagon's program manager for the Basic Housing Allowance. She says the higher
rates will cost the Pentagon an additional $20 billion next year. Housing
allowances vary by pay grade, family situation and location. They are derived from
surveys of local housing costs and vacancy rates. Not every place will go up.
Rents have fallen in Sacramento, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz. Rates will also drop at
Altus Air Force Base, Okla. (Defense Department)
- A top Navy criminal investigator has pleaded guilty in a massive bribery scheme, suggesting more
pleas could be coming. John Beliveau II faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. He
admits that he kept a long-time defense contractor up-to-date on a years-long
fraud investigation. In exchange, according to the plea deal, the head of Glenn
Defense Marine Asia paid for plane tickets, hotels and prostitutes for Beliveau.
The scandal has ensnared at least six Navy officers and led to a service-wide
investigation of Navy contracts. (Associated Press)