PSC wants OMB to tweak its regs memo

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While a coalition of technology and professional services companies agreed with the White House’s overall effort to get rid of old, unnecessary regulations, it has a bone to pick.

The Professional Services Council told the White House in a letter that it was on board with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s June 15 memo that looks to reduce the burden of federal regulations but that three specific provisions raised concerns.

The June 22 letter requests that revisions be made in the memo’s sections on accelerated payments to small businesses, the review processes under OMB Circular A-123 and agency reviews.

PSC Executive Vice President and Counsel Alan Chvotkin said in the letter to Mulvaney that his organization supports the memo and the White House’s overall initiative to eliminate, modify or pause most of the 59 OMB documents addressed in the memo, save for those specific areas.

The memo, said Chvotkin, eliminated what PSC agreed were onerous quarterly progress reports, but it took issue with its "encouragement" for agencies to make accelerated payments to small businesses "to the best of their ability." Encouragement, he said, offers no solid direction for agencies to do so.

The OMB memo also confuses the review process under OMB Circular A-123, he said. The memo "pauses" the requirement that federal agencies conduct entity-level internal control reviews of the acquisition function and then integrate that assessment with existing agency internal control processes and practices.  Chvotkin urged that the reviews continue as part of an "essential element of agency management" even through the reorganizational process.

Chvotkin also said OMB's memo put a stop to valuable agency quarterly reports on priority goals for the rest of 2017.  That's shortsighted, he argued, as the "reports have provided valuable insight into agency activities, including successes and remaining challenges."

As an example, Chvotkin said the reports have been particularly valuable in cross-agency goals for security clearances, because they provide critical information on key administration, congressional and industry interests.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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