White House orders a freeze on all government regulations

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

In today’s Top Federal Headlines,  the White House has put a freeze on all new regulations, giving the Trump administration a chance to review new orders, including those issued recently by the Obama administration.

  • White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum late Friday ordering a governmentwide freeze on new regulations until the new administration has a chance to review them.  The action was fairly standard for a new administration taking over from the other party.  The order put a halt to any lingering policies from the Obama administration before they can be finalized. The move could give President Trump the ability to declare an immediate impact on some the regulations that Republicans have long opposed. (AP)
  • Builders have long complained about Project Labor Agreements (PLA) imposed during the Obama administration.  Now, building and construction associations want the new Trump administration to rescind those orders and replace them with rules they believe encourage more neutrality in government contracting.   Builders said the Obama PLAs forced union control of all labor relations, often requiring nonunion employees to pay into benefit schemes for which they may never collect.
    (Federal News Radio)
  • A handful of ethics and constitutional lawyers said they planned to file a federal lawsuit today seeking to make President Donald Trump divest his various assets that do business with foreign governments. The group said he violating a clause in the Constitution that prohibits his businesses from receiving anything of value from foreign governments. Trump’s lawyer denies the President has any conflicts.  (Federal News Radio)
  • Former Army Undersecretary Patrick Murphy said he hopes Congress will provide a supplemental budget to pay for a planned-for troop increase. Congress authorized an increase to 460,000 by the end of 2017. But to do that, Murphy said extra money will be needed keep ahead on acquisition issues and investments in innovative technologies while caring for soldiers in the Army and after they leave. (Federal News Radio)
  • A report from the Government Accountability Office said the Defense Department has done a better job of reporting on the environmental clean-up of installations closed under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.  But the GAO report said the DoD could do better at reporting on the increased costs associated with emerging contaminants at closed bases and on the challenges encountered in transferring property. (GAO)
  • The Office of Personnel Management and Equal Employment Opportunity have called on agencies to look for barriers to Hispanic employment in the federal workforce. Outgoing OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert and EEOC Chair Jenny Yang said they want agencies to conduct a formal barrier analysis by the end of next January. Hispanics represented 8.5 percent of the federal workforce in 2015. Hispanic employment increased only 1 percent over the last six years. (Federal News Radio)
  • A bill that would make it easier for the Veterans Affairs Secretary to fire poor performers is back on the table. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reintroduced the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act. It is aimed at shortening the time VA employees and senior executives have to appeal to disciplinary actions. It also would reform the long and confusing appeals process for veterans.  Rubio and former House VA Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) first introduced the bill last year. It easily passed the House, but never made it to a Senate vote. (Congress)