Regulatory action has decreased significantly under Trump administration

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  • The Trump administration really has put the brakes on federal regulatory activity. Significant regulatory activity has fallen 74 percent since the new team took office. That’s according to George Washington University professor Bridget Dooling, based on numbers from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. They show in the first 18 months of Trump, agencies launched fewer than 250 big rules, compared to 807 in the first year of the Obama administration and more than 700 in George W. Bush’s first year. (George Washington University)
  • Federal employees are one step closer to a pay raise in 2019. The Senate included a 1.9 percent raise for civilian employees in one of four appropriations bills passed Wednesday. Senators will have to conference with the House over the issue of federal pay as the House did not include a raise in its own version of the appropriations bill. The White House said it opposed the pay raise, and wants to work with Congress instead to authorize a workforce fund that would promote performance based pay. (Federal News Radio)
  • The annual defense authorization bill is on its way to the president’s desk – and several months earlier than usual. The 2019 NDAA includes a 2.6 percent pay raise for military servicemembers – the biggest increase in nine years. The massive policy bill includes dozens of provisions dealing with the Pentagon’s acquisition system, including one that proved controversial: it abandons an earlier attempt to reinstate nationwide sanctions on the Chinese telecom company ZTE. Wednesday’s Senate vote marked the first time in years Congress has passed an NDAA before the start a new fiscal year. For most of the past decade, the measure hasn’t been finished until after Thanksgiving. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department said it opposes legislation which passed the House, granting benefits to some 90,000 Navy veterans who served during the Vietnam War and said they were exposed to Agent Orange. VA Benefits Undersecretary Paul Lawrence said there is not enough scientific evidence to give a blanket benefit to all Navy Vietnam veterans. VA says total benefits would cost nearly 6 billion dollars over ten years. The House already unanimously approved the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. VA’s opposition to the legislation surprised and upset several members on the Senate VA committee. (Senate Veterans Affairs Committee)
  • The General Services Administration gave senators an update on the FBI headquarters plan. Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee John Barasso (R-WY) says GSA has responded to questions from a February oversight hearing. Committee members are still waiting to hear back from the FBI for its end of the plan. Earlier this year, both agencies reversed course on a decade-long plan to move the FBI’s headquarters to suburban Virginia or Maryland. (Federal News Radio)
  • USDA hit the accelerator on its IT modernization plans. The Agriculture Department kicked off the much-anticipated phase 2 of the Centers of Excellence initiative by releasing six solicitations earlier this week. USDA and GSA, which is acting as the acquisition and technical support for the IT modernization effort, want a quick turnaround of responses from industry by Aug. 10. The requests for quotes ask vendors for an assortment of help around cloud adoption, improving the customer experience, using data to make better decisions and to enhancing services to citizens. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Trump administration lays out its research and development priorities for 2020 and names the person who will be in charge of overseeing them. President Trump intends to nominate Kelvin Droegemeier to be the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. OSTP has been without a director since January 2017. Droegemeier was vice president for research and regents’ professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He previously worked for the National Science Foundation, where he co-founded and led the Science and Technology Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms. (White House)
  • A coalition of federal managers offers up ideas for civil service modernization to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Government Managers Coalition weighed in with their recommendations on 10 ideas the Partnership for Public Service had originally offered to the committee. The groups recommend market incentive pay and a joint duty program for GS-15s. The Government Managers Coalition includes the Senior Executives Association, the Federal Managers Association and others. (Federal News Radio)
  • Some postal facility roofs are not getting the attention they need. The Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General finds the office did not keep an accurate inventory of facilities it needed to inspect, and didn’t track manufacturer warranty data of more than 7,000 building roofs. The IG also found the Postal Service didn’t implement contractor recommendations in nearly a third of facilities with critical roofing issues. (U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General)