A few items that caught our attention on Friday:

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) at a rally for the National Treasury Employees Union. (Courtesy of NTEU). Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) at a rally for the National Treasury Employees Union. (Courtesy of NTEU).

Democrats say fed worker pay raise will be tough sell: Democratic lawmakers from fed-heavy districts have acknowledged this week that the federal-worker pay raise President Obama is expected to propose in his 2015 budget plan is unlikely to win enough support from Republicans to pass Congress, according to a Federal Times article.

Two of Obama’s judicial choices draw anger from left: Democrats changed Senate rules three months ago to limit filibusters against White House nominees, raising hopes that Obama could reshape the federal judiciary. But some Democrats and progressive groups are now trying to stop two of the president’s latest picks for the federal bench, saying the nominees are too conservative, according to a New York Times report.

Obama plans to focus on young black and Hispanic men after presidency:  President Obama foreshadowed what may become his focus after leaving the White House in 2017 as he highlighted a new initiative to help keep young minority men in the classroom and out of prison, according to a Washington Post article.

Senate bill would block background-check firms from reviewing own work: The Office of Personnel Management this month said it will no longer allow background-check firms to audit their own work after one contractor allegedly submitting more than 600,000 cases without proper reviews, but a new Senate bill would make the policy law, according to a Federal News Radio report.

Obama administration using taxpayer money to back nuclear plant already being built: The federal government will extend a $6.5 billion loan guarantee to cover part of the cost of building two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, putting taxpayers at risk if the project goes bust like Solyndra, according to Wonkblog.

EPA considers blocking proposed gold mine in Alaska: The Environmental Protection Agency said it will review whether to block a massive gold and copper mine proposed in Alaska, representing a win for environmentalists, native tribes and commercial fishing companies that have sought to stop the project for more than three years, according to a Washington Post report.

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