Federal City Digest

Federal City Digest

(By Orlin Wagner -- Associated Press)
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hey, Tiger

President Obama may not yet have the votes to get his stimulus package through the Senate, but the Department of Transportation isn't wasting any time getting its team ready to spend the money. Yesterday, Secretary Ray LaHood announced the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery -- that's T-I-G-E-R, rowr! -- team to make sure that the billions in economic recovery funds are made available to states and localities "as quickly as possible."

Co-chaired by Lana T. Hurdle, deputy assistant secretary for budget and programs, and Joel Szabat, deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy, the team will pick key highway, bridge, transit, rail, aviation and intermodal projects for the funding, then monitor the tab.

But first, the monster stimulus package must win approval, and Vice President Biden will make another sales pitch today in an appearance at the Laurel MARC station. Amtrak Joe will be joined at the stop by LaHood, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.).

Moving On at Commerce

On Tuesday, the still-headless Commerce Department appointed a former Sprint Nextel government affairs specialist as the deputy National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) administrator and deputy assistant secretary for communications and information.

In that position, Anna Gomez will be the acting head of NTIA as it seeks to shepherd the nation's now-postponed transition to digital television. Before Sprint, Gomez spent several years at the Federal Communications Commission; she was also a deputy chief of staff on the National Economic Council during the Clinton administration.

D.C. Gets a New Overseer

A former president of the national ironworkers union, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), is slated to replace Rep. Danny Davis of Illinois as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on the federal workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, it was announced yesterday. Meanwhile, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a freshman from Utah, was named the ranking Republican of the subcommittee.

New Korea Center

The Asia Foundation today launches a new institute, the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy, to promote a broader U.S.-Korea relationship; senior associate Scott Snyder will be director.


· President Obama will address the National Prayer Breakfast and announce the members of his Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships [More on A4], then in the evening speak before House Democrats at their annual retreat in Williamsburg, Va.

· The bailout that preceded the president's proposed economic stimulus plan gets some more scrutiny as Sen. Christopher J. Dodd's (D-Conn.) Senate Banking Committee is "Pulling Back the TARP" at an oversight hearing at 10 a.m. Neil M. Barofsky, the TARP's special inspector general; Professor Elizabeth Warren, chair of TARP's Congressional oversight panel, and Gene L. Dodaro, the GAO's acting comptroller general, are scheduled to testify.

· The Senate Intelligence Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Leon Panetta to be CIA director.

· The massive Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel today will hear from Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, whose name has recently been mentioned as a possible replacement for Thomas A. Daschle at the Department of Health and Human Services, and Biden chief economist Jared Bernstein.

-- Garance Franke-Ruta Federalcity@washpost.com

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