The Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) lack of permanent leadership was just one of the major issues raised at this week’s oversight hearing of the GPO Office of the Inspector General.
Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt kicked off the hearing by voicing concerns over shaky leadership: the agency hasn’t had a permanent director since October 2017 and has been under the leadership of Acting Deputy Director John Crawford for the last 12 months. On top of that, five of the ten GPO executive leadership team positions are vacant with employees serving in an acting capacity, according to Chairman Blunt’s remarks.
The last week before recess is always crazy and this week will be no exception. We apologize for skipping the Forecast over the last two weeks, but we were literally and figuratively underwater.
ON THE RADAR
Negotiations over appropriations levels and the debt ceiling must result in a long-term agreement, a short term agreement, Congress returning during the recess, or a government shutdown. Expect to see members forced to vote on a deal they don’t like. For our purposes, the big question is whether Pelosi fights to restore funding for leg branch, and, uh, whether the government shuts down.
Mueller’s testimony will dominate the news most of the week, alongside the Jeffrey Epstein scandal and Trump’s ongoing racist attacks on the squad. (Note I did not mention the refugee concentration camps, which have fallen out of the news, but are subtext to the appropriations fight and a BFD.) Trump impeachment on one hand and racist attacks may motivate base voters and it wouldn’t surprise me if two dozen more dems come out for impeachment.
Between December 19, 2018 and June 24, 2019 USCP disclosed 271 incidents where 531 individuals were arrested. Incidents can involve more than one individual getting arrested, which explains the gap in those two figures. Of these 271 incidents:
13.7% (37 incidents) took place at or around Union Station, with 54% (20) of those incidents involving drugs.
12.5% (34 incidents) took placein congressional office buildings and the Capitol or directly adjacent to those buildings. 188 individuals were arrested during these incidents.
The most common charges issued: 36% of incidents included charges for driving without a valid license (98 incidents) and 13% of incidents included charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (36 incidents).
Demand Progress obtained ten years’ worth of reports summarizing complaints against U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) employees. According to the data:
• Total complaint cases are up by almost 70% in the last decade. USCP reported 151 complaints in fiscal year (FY) 2009 compared to 253 complaints in calendar year 2018. We should note that the number of USCP officers has also significantly increased over that time: the department has 1,799 full time employees in FY 2009 compared to 2,283 at the start of FY 19.
Last week the Bulk Data Task Force (BDTF) convened internal and external stakeholders to discuss, you guessed it, congressional data.
Established in 2012, the BDTF brings together parties from across the legislative branch—including the House Clerk, the Secretary of the Senate, Government Publishing Office (GPO), Library of Congress (LOC), and more—as well as external expert groups to make congressional information easier to access and use.
• The Bulk Data Task Force, where congressional technologists and civil society work to improve legislative data, will meeton Tuesday, July 9th at 11. Location TBA.
• The Supreme Court poked a hole in the Freedom of Information Act.A federal agency can withhold commercial and financial information from a requester merely by determining that the records fit within an expansive definition of ‘confidential’, instead of having to show as well that disclosure would cause harm to the private-sector submitter, as lower courts had held.