Trump administration unhappy with House appropriators for not funding Interior reorganization

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  • The Office of Management and Budget has expressed its displeasure with the early versions of appropriations bills coming out of the House committee. OMB acting director Russell Vought wrote to House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). He says the White House is strongly opposed to the interior and environment appropriations bill under consideration in the full committee. The bill doesn’t include $28 million requested for reorganization at the Interior Department. It also includes agency appropriations that’s 24% above the Trump administration’s own request. (White House)
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee authorized a $750 billion defense budget for 2020. The defense authorization bill establishes a space force and requires new acquisition reforms from DoD. Those reforms revolve around intellectual property and software procurement. The bill also creates a tenant bill of rights for service members and families living in on-base housing. Among other changes, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved language that would give service members the right to withhold rent payments when they’re dealing with substandard living conditions. The bill would also beef up the military services’ oversight responsibilities over private housing providers. It includes more than $300 million to hire new government staff to monitor housing conditions and oversee base-level contracts. (Federal News Network)
  • There’s bicameral interest in blocking the relocation of two Agriculture Department bureaus out of the D.C. area. A House appropriations subcommittee includes language to stop the move of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in its 2020 bill. Eight Democratic Senators also introduce a standalone bill to do so. The bill also has a House companion.
  • The EPA started to reset its approach to environmental rule making. Administrator Andrew Wheeler called on assistant administrators to proceed with new approaches to their cost-benefit analyses. He cites comments received from an April 2017 docket item, and the Trump administration’s regulatory reform agenda. The comments said the EPA too often overestimates benefits and underestimates the cost of rules. He wants reforms in the offices of air and radiation, chemicals, land and emergency management, and water, including more consistency across media. (EPA)
  • Congressman Gerry Connolly joined three other House Democrats in reintroducing a bill that aims to diversify the workforce at national security agencies. The bill would require each agency to produce an annual public report on its efforts to diversify its workforce. It also encourages national security agencies agencies to expand their career development and advancement opportunities. (Rep. Gerry Connolly)
  • Only 770 employees at the IRS are under the age of 30. About 230 are under the age of 25. That’s out of an IRS workforce of nearly 80,000. The agency says it’s trying to refocus on human capital. It’s developing a talent development platform, reskilling opportunities and training academies to teach staff about the new HR IT systems coming to the IRS. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Health and Human Services made an unconventional choice for its next chief information officer. Instead of going with a traditional technology executive, Federal News Network has confirmed Jose Arrieta, the deputy assistant secretary and senior procurement executive at HHS, will replace CIO Beth Killoran who left the role in August, as the new CIO. (Federal News Network)
  • A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill to prioritize national security in the development of 5G. The bill requires a policy for the commercial deployment and security of 5G networks and to ensure the networks don’t use equipment or services from companies like Huawei or ZTE. The legislation also creates a grant program to help rural communications providers remove Chinese equipment deemed to be a security threat from their networks. (Sen. Mark Warner)
  • The Army wants feedback from industry on ways to leverage emerging technology to transform the way it operates and maintains its bases, without new funds to do so. At an industry day, the service asks vendors for input on ways to make bases more resilient to events like natural disaster and cyber attacks. The Army received just over $3.5 billion in fiscal 2019 to sustain facilities, restoration and maintenance. That’s enough to cover about 80% of its known maintenance requirements. (Federal News Network)
  • Agencies received high praise for proving that innovation is happening across government. Eight federal, state and local projects earned high honors for innovation. At the 2019 Igniting Innovation Awards, sponsored by ACT-IAC, the Lifesaving Computerized Tomography Opioid Detection project from Leidos won the overall top honor. The program, which Customs and Border Protection is piloting, uses a specific type of x-ray and software to detect the density of the contents in a shipped package looking for illicit drugs. The Veterans Affairs Department also earned three of the eight Igniting Innovation awards. These eight winning projects rose to the top out of 40 finalists. (ACT-IAC)

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