Continuing resolutions have become the norm

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  • When it comes to appropriations, the regular order in Congress is irregular. There have only been four years out of the last 40 where agencies haven’t faced a continuing resolution. The Government Accountability Office told senators that agencies have had to deal with as many as 21 CRs in one year, and on average there have been five CRs a year since 1999. For fiscal 2018, which begins Oct. 1, Congress already passed a continuing resolution through Dec. 9. (Government Accountability Office)


  • FEMA plans to add more mobilization bases as more federal employees sign up for the Homeland Security Department’s Surge Capacity Force. FEMA uses these bases to train federal employees before going out to help survivors of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and now Maria. The agency holds a new round of training classes every week. DHS sent a memo to Cabinet agencies last week, asking for help to mobilize federal employees for disaster response. (Federal News Radio)


  • Congress wants answers about the SEC’s data breach. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton will face tough questions next Tuesday when he appears before the Senate Banking Committee. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has promised to hold Clayton accountable for the cyber breach of its filing system that may have provided the basis for some illegal trading in 2016. The SEC announced Wednesday that a review of its cybersecurity risk profile determined that the previously detected “incident” was caused by “a software vulnerability” in its EDGAR filing system. Clayton said the software was patched quickly after the hack was uncovered in 2016, although the possibility that some may have used it to make illegal profits was only discovered last month. (Sen. Mark Warner)


  • Senior Executives Association President Bill Valdez said his organization’s survey is due out in early October. However, some early results reveal a troubling trend. They show senior leaders feel the government is falling short when it comes to the development of current and aspiring leaders.


  • Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan hopes the Interior Department will help him with a new road project on a major highway in the metro region. Hogan wants to build new express toll lanes on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, but doing so would require Interior to transfer the parkway land, which the federal government owns, over to the Maryland Transportation Authority. Hogan said he’s met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about the issue, but no decision has been made yet. Hogan is also proposing adding additional lanes to the Maryland side of the Capital Beltway. (WTOP)


  • A plan to transfer oversight of international non-military firearms sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department is in the works. Reuters reports the White House is considering new rules in an effort to cut regulatory costs and boost U.S. exports of small arms. A draft of the new rules could be sent to the Office of Management and Budget in the coming days. (Reuters)


  • The Navy has awarded a contract worth over $5 billion for the design of a new ballistic-missile submarine. Under the Integrated Product and Process Development contract, General Dynamics Electric Boat will complete the design of the Columbia-class submarine. Construction on the new sub is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2020. (Department of Defense)


  • A new audit says the U.S. military is still struggling in its mission to train the Afghan national police. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said after 16 years and $70 billion spent training Afghan security forces, the effort is still challenging, partly because U.S. military trainers lack police expertise of their own. In one case, a trainer told auditors he watched police TV shows to figure out what to teach the Afghans. At one point, training sessions used Powerpoint slides based on NATO operations in the Balkans. The training plans, the IG said, were put together with little to no input from Afghan officials. (Federal News Radio)


  • The Air Force is still hurting for pilots. Air Education and Training Command Director Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson said the service can’t train enough pilots for the demand. The Air Force needs to train about 1,600 a year. Meanwhile, the service is trying its best to keep pilots, Letting pilots instructors to stay in their locations for six years to give them job stability. (Federal News Radio)