Trump Administration Begins Government Shutdown Preparations
Negotiators are hard at work behind the scenes this week trying to reach a budget agreement that will keep government agencies open, but the Trump administration has begun preparing for a shutdown that could begin on April 29, barring any congressional action.
Representatives on both sides of the aisle are hopeful about reaching an agreement that would fund all agencies through the end of the fiscal year in September, but the Trump Administration could stand firm on its funding priorities, which would make an agreement more difficult.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues is “The Wall.” Trump has asked for an extra $33 billion to go toward the U.S.-Mexico border wall with increased immigration enforcement. Democrats seem to have no issue with shutting down the government if the spending bill includes this funding, and Republicans appear to not want to risk calling their bluff, indicating “they would deal with the administration’s supplemental request separately from the regular appropriations bill,” according to Government Executive.
There will of course be give and take, deal-making and trading going on behind the scenes. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out on April 29.
Read the full story on Government Executive.
DOJ and GSA Work to Build New Government-Wide FOIA Portal
Coming soon to a computer near you: a single streamlined website where you can submit Freedom of Information Act requests to any agency.
Well, that’s at least what the Department of Justice (DOJ) and General Services Administration (GSA) are working to achieve as they collaborate together on a new national portal. The DOJ has actually been working towards a single portal since 2010 when it introduced FOIA.gov and began working with GSA on small improvements to the site back in 2014. This new partnership hopes to introduce a new singular portal.
You are encouraged to provide input about your FOIA experiences as the agencies work through the development process. Send an email with your comments to National.FOIAPortal@usdoj.gov by April 28.
Read the full story on the Nextgov website.
Trump Signs EO to Bolster “Buy American” Laws
President Trump signed a new Executive Order (EO) that focuses on buying American products. Under the EO, agencies must complete a full review of their procurement procedures to assess their compliance with “Buy American” laws. A report of their findings is due to the Secretary of Commerce and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within 150 days. A final report will go to the President within 220 days along with recommendations for how to better implement Buy American laws.
Read the full story on the White House website.
Hard Knocks for GSA’s Transactional Data Reporting Program
The General Services Administration (GSA) has been taking a lot of hits recently on their new Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) program. Harsh criticism has been coming from all directions, and government contracting consultants have strongly advised their clients not to take part in it.
If you’re unfamiliar with TDR, it’s a program that allows contractors to provide data about transactions made through their Schedule contracts in exchange for not having to follow the Price Reduction Clause (PRC) and the Commercial Services Practices (CSP) provision. Contractors have been rallying for years to change the PRC. While they were happy to see GSA making changes, the concern over TDR has continued to grow since it was unveiled.
You’ve got to give credit to the GSA Deputy Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, Kevin Youel Page, though. Instead of staying silent and steadfast, he’s ready to hear contractors’ concerns and take action to address the issues. The TDR program management office even set up an email address where anyone can send in questions or concerns.
Meanwhile, some within the industry are already debating the long-term viability of the TDR program. So far, GSA has only announced a three-year pilot and no public support has come from the Trump administration.
Read the full story on Federal News Radio’s website.
About the Author
Barbara Kinosky has more than twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of federal government contracting and is a nationally known expert on GSA and VA Schedules and the Service Contract Act. She has a proven track record of solving complex issues for clients by providing strategic and business savvy advice. Barbara was named a top attorney for federal contracting by Smart CEO magazine in 2010, 2012, and 2015.