Federal Drive Show Blog - January 31, 2014

Friday - 1/31/2014, 10:50am EST

This is the Federal Drive show blog. Here you can listen to our interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day, as well as links to other stories and resources we discuss.

Today's Interviews:

Kevin Concannon
Undersecretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services
USDA

Download Audio

A McDonald's hamburger costs less than a bunch of kale at Whole Foods. But the Agriculture Department wants needy families to have their share of fruits and vegetables. USDA funds a program to help food banks and other places of last resort buy healthier food. Kevin Concannon has more on this, and the farm bill being debated in Congress. He is undersecretary for USDA's Food Nutrition and Consumer Services.

Mark Linton
Executive Director
Strong Cities, Strong Communities

Download Audio

The federal government offers so many grants and loans that it's hard for applicants to know where to start. President Barack Obama's new Promise Zones initiative is just the latest effort to help communities navigate this web. Strong Cities, Strong Communities is an older program, led by the Housing and Urban Development Department, and it's expanding. Executive Director Mark Linton has more.

Jessica Tillipman
Assistant Dean for Field Placement
George Washington University Law School

Download Audio

Contractors aren't like gas stations. Don't like one? Just hop over to a nearby one. Office of Personnel Management officials have expressed dismay with U.S. Investigative Services, the company that does 40 percent of the government's security clearance background screening. Prosecutors have accused the company of fraud. OPM has several options, none easy. Jessica Tillipman, assistant dean at the George Washington University Law School, has more.

Read more.

Cali Yost
Author
"Tweak It"

Download Audio

It's the last day of January, but it's never too late to launch some resolutions. "Tweak It" is a book about making small, daily changes that add up. A high-ranking federal employee, and listener, brought it to our attention. She says, "now more than ever, the workforce must find ways to stay engaged, remain productive and keep themselves healthy." Good goals for all of us. Author Cali Yost to joined Tom and Emily with her advice.

Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Download Audio

The Homeland Security Department puts President Obama's sweeping cyber executive order into practice. In two weeks, the National Protections and Programs directorate launches a voluntary program for companies to improve their network security. Phyllis Schneck is the deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity at DHS. She gives Executive Editor Jason Miller an exclusive look into this new program.

Read more.

Jared Serbu
DoD Reporter
Federal News Radio

Download Audio

A new Senate bill could make it easier for military and civilians overseas to vote. The legislation includes mandates for new online systems and requirements for state and local elections officials. Federal News Radio's DoD reporter, Jared Serbu, has details.

Read more.

Julia Ziegler
Web Manager
Federal News Radio

Download Audio

The company that performs the majority of background investigations for the government is in hot water. USIS has been accused by the Justice Department of not properly completing investigations. The civil complaint alleges that USIS submitted at least 665,000 background investigations to the Office of Personnel Management that hadn't gone through the proper vetting process. Federal employees are speaking out about the allegations. Web Manager Julia Ziegler has details.

Heard Tom and Emily talk about another story during the show, but don't see it here? Check out our daily federal headlines for the latest news affecting the federal community.