OMB not expecting shutdown, but plans for it

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

  • Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has echoed the sentiment of President Donald Trump on the possibility of a government shutdown this week.  Mulvaney said the administration did not expect a lapse in appropriations, however “prudence and common sense require routine assessments to be made.” Mulvaney warned government agencies to take precautionary measures. Those steps include a phone call or meeting with OMB ahead of the funding deadline and making any updates to agency contingency plans.  The current continuing resolution expires at midnight on Friday. (Federal News Radio).
  • The Defense Department and the military services have been spending their money as if the 2017 budget has already been passed. The five months DoD has to spend its newly appropriated funds really won’t be that hard, Katherine Blakeley, a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Federal News Radio. “They’ve been anticipating this [money] for literally over a year at this point. They’ve had a lot of time to think and to plan and to prepare,” Blakeley said. “They have a really good sense of where all this funding is going to go.”  Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said DoD has already spent more than half of the money anyway under the continuing resolution. (Federal News Radio)
  • Both leaders on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have asked President Trump to renominate Carolyn Lerner as U.S. Special Counsel. Trump withdrew the nomination for Lerner earlier this year. Lerner’s five-year term expired, but she is serving in a holdover capacity until June. Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote to Trump, saying she has been objective and effective at the Office of Special Counsel. (House Oversight)
  • The Navy said it’s stepping up security for contractors doing business on military bases.  In July, the Navy will start requiring contractors who don’t already have DoD identification cards to get ID cards based on DoD’s biometric identification system before they’ll have access to installations. Aside from requiring a background check before they’re issued, officials say they’re more secure than they system they’re replacing because the back-end infrastructure automatically checks for warrants and changes to a credential’s status anytime a contractor tries to use one to gain access to a base. The Defense Department began using a similar process of continuous vetting for military personnel and other DoD ID card holders in 2015. (Navy)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency spends about $4 billion annually on grants, and lawmakers want to know more about those grants. Republicans from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce have sent a letter to the EPA, asking for details on how the department closes out grants. The request includes information on expired grants and a list of all grant applicants and grantees that have been designated as ‘high risk.’ (House Energy/Commerce)
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has criticized Immigration and Customs Enforcement for not effectively managing the deportation of aliens who are no longer detained but are under its supervision.  The IG said ICE is not delegating workloads properly to make sure employees have manageable caseloads. The IG made five managerial recommendations to help ICE address the issue.  (Homeland Security)
  • A federal air marshal left a loaded gun in the lavatory on a flight from England to New York earlier this month. A passenger later discovered it. The New York Times reports the marshal failed to report the incident to her supervisor right away and was assigned to another flight just a few days after the security breach. (NY Times)
  • A new bill would have Congress deliberate the idea of a decentralized government. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)  introduced the bill to establish a commission to examine which agencies might be moved out of the Washington, D.C. area. The 11-member commission would be chaired by the head of the General Services Administration. It would examine economically distressed areas or sections where lots of people have skills needed by an agency or one of its bureaus. (Rep. Tim Ryan)

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