Government contracting dollars spiked in 2018

In today's Federal Newscast, the Government Accountability Office says agency spending on products and services in 2018 reached its highest level in seven years...

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  • Agency spending on products and services in 2018 spiked to the highest amount in seven years. GAO finds federal procurement spending hit $554 billion last year, up more than $78 billion since 2013. The Defense Department’s accounted for $358 billion while civilian agencies handed out $195 billion in contracts. The agency also said the amount of competitive procurements governmentwide dropped by 3% to 63.4% between 2014 and 2018. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Federal employees got a small step closer to a 3.1% pay raise next year. The House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee easily cleared its 2020 spending bill which breaks with the president, who proposed a pay freeze for employees. The measure now heads to the full House Appropriations Committee. It’s unclear what path the Senate might take with federal pay in 2020. Senate appropriations subcommittee Chairman John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced an amendment last year to eliminate a 1.9% raise from a 2019 appropriations bill. (Federal News Network)
  • Democrats on the subcommittee also say no to the White House’s plans to merge the Office of Personnel Management and General Services administration. They’d rather give the agency more money actually. The bill also includes specific language prohibiting funding for the administration’s proposed OPM merger with the GSA. The agency faces a $70 million shortfall next year when the security clearance business moves to the Defense Department by Oct. 1. (Federal News Network)
  • Members of the Committee also want to give the IRS a $12 billion budget for fiscal 2020, a nearly $700 million increase from current levels. The funding increase in the Financial Services and General Government spending bill would go toward taxpayer services, enforcement and IT modernization. President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget plan would’ve kept the IRS funded at nearly $11.5 billion, essentially a flat budget from current levels. (House Appropriations Committee)
  • The House Appropriations Subcommittee wants to plus-up the Technology Modernization Fund for fiscal 2020 by $10 million. But it’s still well below the Trump administration’s request of $150 million. Members of the Financial Services and General Government subcommittee released the first draft of its 2020 spending bill with $35 million for the TMF. The subcommittee also proposes to cut the IT Oversight and Reform or ITOR fund, by $13 million and the Federal Citizen Services Fund by $5 million over their 2019 levels. (Federal News Network)
  • The House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee isn’t happy about the Defense Department’s decision to cut 18,000 medical jobs. It’s blocking DoD’s decision to redistribute 18,000 medical jobs within the military. The subcommittee’s markup of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act prohibits the realignment of manpower until further analysis is conducted. DoD wants to reduce a large number of its military health billets in order to turn those positions into fighting forces. The 2020 defense budget as requested by the president does not add any funds to replace those military health care professionals with civilian positions either. DoD already stopped filling some of its medical billets and about 2,000 are currently vacant. (Federal News Network)
  • SPAWAR is no more. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, officially changed its name to the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command or NAVWAR. The intent of the name change is to recognize the power information warfare brings to the Navy’s mission. The change aligns the command name with the its mission to identify, develop, deliver and sustain information warfare capabilities and services. (Navy)
  • While it’s the General Services Administration’s job to review agency’s leases, the Government Accountability Office said it hasn’t done much reviewing. GAO found GSA only examined 1% of post-lease award documents submitted by agencies. GAO said this means GSA cannot ensure leases meet its requirements, or that agencies have taken due diligence to prevent fraud, waste and abuse. (Government Accountability Office)
  • EPA officials promised to speed up reviews of state, local and tribal water management decisions. Water Administrator David Ross said EPA keeps missing statutory deadlines. Under federal law, local jurisdictions have a lot of say over how to manage their water supplies, with EPA having oversight and the authority to order actions. Ross said EPA’s lateness causes uncertainty and lawsuits. A memo to regional EPA administrators ordered them to start making oversight decisions within timelines established by law. (Environmental Protection Agency)

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