*** The White House is looking to rein in federal agencies from going rogue when it comes to dropping budget materials, delivering congressional testimony, rolling out program plans and doing media outreach. A Feb. 26 memo from Russell Vought, acting director at the Office of Management and Budget, reminds agency heads of existing protocols for clearing documents with top officials. Vought's memo makes clear the direction comes from Mick Mulvaney, formerly OMB director and acting White House chief of staff.
The memo outlines various circulars and authorities that require agencies to give OMB a chance to approve budget materials, draft legislation and testimony before their release. "Following these clearance processes is absolutely critical to ensuring that agency actions are consistent with the President's policies and programs," Vought says.
*** Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, is getting impatient with Department of Veterans Affairs leadership over the release of documents relevant to Takano's probe of outside influence on the agency. In a Feb. 25 letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, the chairman complained that the agency hadn't produced material or notified staff in advance that a deadline would be missed. Takano said the missed Feb. 22 deadline reflected "a lack of good faith," and added that, "the Department has stonewalled Congress long enough regarding this matter and others." Takano set a new deadline of March 8 for the requested material.
Posted on Feb 28, 2019 at 1:06 AM