White House touts savings from deregulatory actions

In today's Federal Newscast, the White House said its regulatory reform efforts saved $23 billion in fiscal 2018.

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  • The White House said its regulatory reform efforts saved $23 billion in fiscal 2018. Agencies issued 176 deregulatory actions, eliminating 12 regulations for every new one. Among the deregulatory actions were the Veterans Affairs Department’s expansion of telehealth services and the Department of Health and Human Services’ reducing paperwork for nursing facilities and other healthcare providers. (White House)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency rolled out its newest regulatory and deregulatory agenda. EPA in 2019 plans to propose rules that would ease automobile mileage standards, and give electric utilities more elbow room on greenhouse gas emissions. It would also trim back the Obama-era definition of the term, waters of the United States. EPA said it will propose new rules for perchlorate in drinking water and strengthen lead dust standards. In all, EPA plans 30 deregulatory actions in the coming year. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • The Merit Systems Protection Board may face another first in a few months: A board with no members. It’s already lacked a quorum for a record 22 months, and MSPB said Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee staff have said they’re not planning to act on all three of the president’s nominees before the year ends. The confirmation process would have to start over completely next year. (Federal News Network)
  • This year’s accomplishments by agency watchdogs were recognized at the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency’s, or CIGIE, 21st annual award ceremony. The group made seven awards, including one to VA’s IG office. It ran an ethics investigation on former VA Secretary David Shulkin’s travel to Europe. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein praised IG staffs for rooting out fraud waste and abuse. (Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency)
  • Employees with the Veterans Benefits Administration get updated training to make better benefits determinations on military sexual trauma. Undersecretary for Benefits Paul Lawrence said all claims processors are required to take new training by the end of the month. VA’s inspector general found VBA wrongly denied hundreds of benefits to victims. This comes after the Veterans Affairs Department’s inspector general said VBA wrongly denied hundreds of veterans post-traumatic stress disorder benefits because employees were poorly trained on military sexual trauma. (Veterans Benefits Administration)
  • The General Services Administration is finally bringing more transparency to its schedule contracts. The agency is starting to lift the veil of secrecy around the $35 billion schedules program. GSA launched its first E-Buy Pilot. The one-year test case will be with GSA’s Office of Internal Acquisition, and the FAS Region 7 Southwest Supply and Acquisition Center for agency funded procurements. Through the pilot, GSA will analyze the benefits of providing industry with a public view of its internal opportunities posted after contract award in E-Buy. The pilot is in response to requests by Federal News Network and others who do not hold schedule contracts but want to see what agencies are buying on E-Buy. (General Services Administration)
  • Getting a better handle on its data could save the Postal Service millions of dollars a year. That’s been the case recently with its Office of the Inspector General. A 50-person team there now uses data analytics tools to catch fraudulent payments auditors might miss. The group prevented over $100 million in improper payments last year by combing through billing from contractors. It uncovered more than $125 million in fraud from contractors doing custodial services. (Federal News Network)
  • The National Guard is looking for people to fill spots in its first Security Force Assistance Brigade. The Army created assistance brigades earlier this year as a way to provide combat advisory roles in developing countries so more traditional brigade combat teams can focus on near-peer competitors like China and Russia. There are five active duty brigades and one National Guard Brigade. Soldiers who join the brigade will attend military advisor training at Fort Benning, Georgia, to receive cultural and language training. (U.S. National Guard)
  • The Air Force is sending teams to meet the 11,000 people displaced from Tyndall Air Force Base by Hurricane Michael. The teams are trying to assess the cost of reassignment and relocation. The hurricane left all but two of the base’s hangars unusable and Air Force engineers are currently reviewing the status of the F-22s on base. (Federal News Network)

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