Quick Hits

*** At his Dec. 4 Senate confirmation hearing to become administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Paul J. Ray faced questions from Democrats seeking assurances he would interpret regulations in an impartial and apolitical manner, while Republicans praised his work to date and pushed for confirmation. Democrats also expressed frustration at the number of claims of executive privilege made by Ray in his response to pre-hearing questions from committee members. OIRA, a small component of the Office of Management and Budget, has taken on increasing importance in recent administrations for its central role in supervising the writing rules and regulations that determine how act of Congress are implemented by federal agencies. Ray has been acting administrator for the past six months.

*** John Rood, the Defense Department's undersecretary for policy, said some congressional oversight processes have led to unpredictability when it comes to exporting technology and he wants to change that.

"Partnering with allies and building their capabilities in addition to ours is critical," Rood told reporters Dec. 4 at the Defense Writers Group breakfast. "We don't have to invent a new framework, but I do think we have to be serious about where there are some of those potential barriers...because we simply don't have the wherewithal to do everything U.S. only."

Rood said DOD wants to leverage the increased commercial technological development flowing into government domestically and abroad but "informal" congressional oversight for arms export processes can cause delays in capability delivery. "A number of informal processes have developed that have ended up imposing rather long delays and making us unpredictable to our allies," Rood said.

*** Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) listed election security funding among the dropped balls in his annual Federal Fumbles report released Dec. 3. Lankford complained that as of July 2019, only $108 million of $380 million appropriated by Congress and dispersed to states had been spent. "It's nonsensical to keep providing states more money for election security if they are just going to stuff the money under their mattresses," Lankford's report states.

NEXT STORY: FCW Insider: Dec. 4

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