THE TOP LINE
Naughty or nice. Congress is still in session, so here’s a little something to read if you’re still hanging around.
Shutdown. For the first time in years, the House and Senate got their approps work done on time and five bills enacted into law. But instead of pushing for the remaining seven, they delayed and kicked the can down the road. And now, instead of protecting the legislative branch’s prerogatives, leadership in the House and Senate caved to Pres. Trump’s politically untenable demands, aimed at keeping his base happy, shifting blame, and distracting from his administration’s scandals. How does this end? Stay tuned.
In the last days of the 115th Congress, a few good bills made it over the finish line. The amended Open Government Data Act (HR 4174) requires the government to inventory its data sets; automatically publish its public data sets online, in a machine-readable format, in a catalog; and have each CFO agency establish a Chief Data Officer. (More) The GAO-IG Act (S 2276) requires each agency to identify, in its congressional budget justification, every GAO recommendation to that agency and whether it’s been closed. As mentioned last week, a watered-down Congressional Accountability Act (link) was enacted. As was the IDEA Act (HR 5759), which would require agencies to provide better digital services.
What’s next? Hold your horses, Jeb. Besides whatever is happening with approps — and I hope Congress passes the bills it worked so hard to draft — House Dems will release their draft House rules in the next week or two, with a vote set on Jan. 3. We’ll also see appointments to many of the committees. I’d also expect introduction in both chambers of an ethics, campaign finance, and elections reform bill, known colloquially as H.R. 1.
What else? The leg branch appropriations bill requires publication of new member bio guides, a joint congressional committee calendar, the promulgation of automated witness disclosure forms, and all non-confidential CRS reports online, plus studies of staff pay and retention in the House and Senate, a study of whistleblowing resources in the House, and an analysis of Congress’s Technology Assessment function. Oh, by the end of the year the Supreme Court will release its annual report on the judiciary. And the U.S. Capitol police finally agreed to start publishing limited arrest info online.
Wait, hold on! I know you’re getting ready to move on to your post holiday shopping list, but the holidays came early with the Lincoln Network’s phenomenal guide to IT acquisitions in the legislative branch.
Continue reading “Forecast for December 24, 2018. Naughty or Nice.”