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Eye Opener: Jan. 20, 2010

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! And Happy one year anniversary to the Obama administration. Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter and submit your news tips here.

More Obama Nominees Announced: On Tuesday the president tapped Jeffrey R. Moreland to serve as director of the Amtrak Board of Directors; Dana K. Bilyeu and Michael Kennedy to serve as a members on the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board; JoAnn Lynn Balzer, and Cynthia Chavez Lamar to serve as members of the board of trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development; Daryl J. Boness to serve as chairman of the Marine Mammal Commission; Michael F. Tillman, John Coppola, Carla D. Hayden, Winston Tabb and Robert Wedgeworth as members of the National Museum and Library Services Board, National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities; and HernĂ¡n D. VeraHead Count.

Cabinet and Staff News: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar makes announcement on bird strikes today at New York's JFK International Airport. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visits India to talk terrorism. A Sudan rights group sets its sights on Obama administration deputies. While vote on Ben Bernanke's next Fed term nears, he invites GAO to audit the AIG bailout. Former FEMA Administrator Michael D. Brown critiques news coverage of the Haiti earthquake.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Defense accounts for smaller portion of contracting in 2009: Government contractors still received more than 90 percent of their revenues from government contracts last year, but less of that is coming from the Pentagon.

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT:
D.C., Virginia seek $450 million in federal education funds: As 40 states and the District met Tuesday's deadline for submitting applications to the department, President Obama went to a Fairfax County elementary school to announce that he will seek an expansion of the $4.3 billion program.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY:
Flight 253 hearings to focus on intelligence: Among those testifying on Capitol Hill Wednesday will be Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller and the former co-chairmen of the independent commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

FEDERAL HOUSING AUTHORITY:
FHA to raise standards for mortgage insurance: Starting this summer, sellers will not be able to offer as much help to buyers to pay their closing costs. The maximum amount of assistance will drop to 3 percent of the value of the property, from the current 6 percent.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Many federal workers won't benefit from insurance tax delay: At one point, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program was looked to as a model for national health insurance reform. Now, in an ironic turn of events, the 8 million people covered by the plan may not get all the benefits from the proposed insurance overhaul legislation that other citizens would.

Obama didn't break Bush record for speed of appointments: The final numbers, though some data could not be determined, show that 71 percent of Obama's selections are white, 32 percent are women, 15 percent are black, 10 percent are Hispanic and 4 percent are Asian American.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
22 indicted in FBI foreign bribe sting: Among those arrested: a former top Secret Service official who ran the Vice President's protective detail.

Justice Dept. opens preliminary investigation into Ensign's conduct: The tentative investigation is being run jointly by the department, the FBI's Washington Field Office and the U.S. attorney's office in the District, one federal law enforcement official said.

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 20, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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