Washington Weekly – May 15, 2015

May 15, 2015

The House passed HR 1732, a bill that would prohibit the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the current final rule defining waters of the United States; HR 1735, the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act; HR 36, a bill that would ban abortions after 26 weeks; HR 2048, a bill that would prohibit the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of data; and HR 2297, the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015. The House also passed HR 1191, the Senate-passed Iran Nuclear Review Act. The bill now goes to the President for his signature. The Senate initially failed to invoke cloture on S995, the fast-track trade bill with a vote of 52 to 45 (60 yeas are needed for cloture). But after a deal was worked out in which HR 1295, the Trade Preferences Extension Act, and HR 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, were voted on and passed by the Senate, S995 then cleared the 60-vote threshold for cloture. The final vote on S995 in the Senate will occur next week, and the House is expected to take it up after the Memorial Day recess. The Senate also confirmed Sally Yates to be Deputy Attorney General by a vote of 84 to 12.

FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)


The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) marked up their FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in subcommittee and full committee this week. Three subcommittees held open markups, while the other three subcommittees and the full committee held their markups in closed sessions. The full committee voted 22 to 4 to report the bill. The bill authorizes $612B in funding for the Department of Defense as well as for national security programs at the Department of Energy. SASC Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) was one of the four Democrats who voted against the bill because of the additional $38B added to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

The bill includes language requiring the administration to devise a plan for transferring prisoners from Guantanamo to a maximum security facility in the United States, but prisoners will remain in Guantanamo until Congress approves the plan. It also establishes a 401(k)-style retirement plan with vesting after 3 years and a matching contribution of up to 5%, while also making cuts to the military’s existing pension system. The committee included cuts to DOD headquarters spending with a 7.5% reduction each year for the next four years and provisions barring another round of base closures.

The bill also includes acquisition reform language that is centered on five principle objectives to support the establishment and use of alternative acquisition pathways. The five objectives are: establishing effective accountability results, developing alternative acquisition pathways, improving access to non-traditional and commercial contractors, deregulating and streamlining to reduce costs and gain efficiencies, and reinvigorating the acquisition workforce.

While the SASC won’t release its bill and report until next week, a detailed summary from the committee can be found at:



The House considered their FY16 NDAA on the floor this week and passed it this morning by a vote of 269 to 151. Eight Republicans voted against the measure and 41 Democrats voted for passage. House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) voted against the measure because of the use of OCO funds to circumvent the Budget Control Act sequestration cuts.

The House Rules Committee allowed for consideration of 135 of the 349 amendments that were filed. Some of the biggest issues addressed through the amendment process were immigration, OCO funding, A-10 retirement, Guantanamo, and the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq and Syria.

The White House released a Statement of Administration Policy on the House FY16 NDAA threatening a veto on the bill as it stands:


FY16 Appropriations


The House Appropriations Committee marked up their FY16 Transportation HUD spending bill in full committee this week and their FY16 Commerce Justice Science (CJS) spending bill in subcommittee. The committee also revised its 302(b) subcommittee allocations for FY16. Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said the revisions were minor and technical in nature, and necessary to bring the panel’s allocations in line with the budget conference report. The revisions added $2M to the Labor HHS Education subcommittee as well as $287M in OCO funding for the State Foreign Operations subcommittee.

Next Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee will mark up the CJS bill in full committee and the FY16 Defense spending bill in subcommittee. And the FY16 Legislative Branch spending bill will be on the House floor next week.

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The House Appropriations Committee approved their FY16 Transportation HUD spending bill and reported it out of full committee by a vote of 30 to 21. The $55.3B spending bill provides funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies, an increase of $1.5B over FY15 and $9.7B below the President’s budget request. Five amendments were approved during the full committee markup:

  1. Diaz-Balart– The manager’s amendment makes technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  2. Culberson – The amendment prohibits funds for two light rail projects in Harris County, TX, unless the voters within the jurisdiction approve the projects. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  3. Lowey – The amendment increases the set aside for Highway Rail Grade Crossings within the Federal Highway Administration Highway Formula by $130 million. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  4. Kaptur – The amendment increases funds for the St. Lawrence Seaway account by $3 million, offset by a cut to the Maritime Operations and Training account. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  5. Rigell – The amendment increases funds for the Washington Metro Transit Authority (WMATA) by $25 million, offset by a $22 million cut from the Federal Aviation Administration and a $3 million cut to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) administrative account. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

House FY16 Transportation HUD Appropriations Bill Text:


House FY16 Transportation HUD Appropriations Report Language:


Commerce Justice Science

The Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations subcommittee marked up its FY16 spending bill this week. The bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.

The legislation contains $51.4B in total discretionary funding, an increase of $1.3B over FY15 and $661M below the President’s request for these programs.

The FBI was the big winner this year getting a $111M increase over last year. The Justice Department would receive $27.5B, an $852M increase from current funding. The Commerce Department would receive $8.2B, a $251M reduction. No amendments were offered during the subcommittee markup.

House FY16 CJS Appropriations Bill Text:



The Senate Appropriations Committee could begin marking up their bills as early as next week. Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) has reportedly given top-line spending allocations to the subcommittee chairmen. The Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Energy and Water subcommittees are likely to be the first bills considered.

Political Updates

Former Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN) announced this week that he would run for the open Senate seat in Indiana in 2016. Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), who announced his retirement earlier this year, is vacating the seat. Hill is the first Democrat to enter the race. Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) also announced his candidacy this week. Feingold will challenge Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) who beat him in 2010.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the nominations of General Mark Milley as the next Chief of Staff of the Army (succeeding General Ray Odierno) and Admiral John Richardson as the next Chief of Naval Operations (succeeding Admiral Jon Greenert). The Department of Defense also announced the appointment of James Baker as the Director of the Office of Net Assessment. Baker replaces Andrew Marshall who retired in January after running the office from more than four decades. Baker is currently the principal deputy director, Strategic Plans and Policy, J5 and the strategist to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Marty Dempsey. Baker will report directly to Secretary of Defense Carter.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioner Philip Moeller said that he would leave the agency this year after a successor has been confirmed. Moeller’s term expires June 30, but he can remain in office until his successor has been confirmed or until Congress adjourns at the end of the year. Moeller is a Republican who first joined the agency in 2006 (nominated by then-President Bush) and was appointed to a second term in 2010 (by President Obama). Pat McCormick, Chief Counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee may be the Republican choice for replacing Moeller.

Ed Felten, a Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at the Princeton University, is joining the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as the Deputy Chief Technology Officer. Felten has previously taken a leave of absence from Princeton to serve as the Chief Technologist at the Federal Trade Commission.

Chuck Rosenberg was named Acting Director for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Rosenberg is a former U.S. Attorney and currently serves as Chief of Staff to the Director of the FBI. He replaces Michele Leonhart, who announced her retirement earlier this year.

The President nominated Dr. Karl Brooks to be Assistant Administrator for Administration and Resources Management at the Environmental Protection Agency, Thomas Melia to be Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Ann Calvaresi Barr to be Inspector General at USAID, Julius Lloyd Horwich to be Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Congressional Affairs at the Department of Education, and Greg Nadeau to be Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Next Week

The House will take up HR 2353, a short-term reauthorization of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act; HR 880, the American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015; HR 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015; HR 2262, the SPACE Act of 2015; HR 1335, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act; and HR 2250, the FY16 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill. The Senate will resume consideration of S995, the Trade Promotion Authority bill, and could start on S1350, a short-term highway extension, S1357, a two-month Patriot Act extension, and HR 2048, the USA Freedom Act, which passed the House this week.

Washington Weekly – May 8, 2015

May 8, 2015

The Senate was unable to garner enough votes to override the presidential veto of S J Res 8, a measure that aims to block union election rules. The Senate voted 96 to 3 to table the measure, having the effect of ending consideration of the override without taking a vote on the measure itself. The Senate did adopt the FY16 Budget Resolution conference agreement by a vote of 51 to 48. All Democrats and 2 Republicans (Sens. Cruz and Paul) voted against the measure. The budget resolution is not a bill and does not go the President for his signature. The Senate also passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act by a vote of 98 to 1, with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) as the lone dissenter. And, the Senate confirmed Willie May to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and 15th Director of NIST. The House was in recess this week.

FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The Senate Armed Committee will begin subcommittee markups of their FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) early next week. The subcommittee on Airland will meet on Monday and the remaining five subcommittees will meet on Tuesday. Three of the six subcommittees will hold open markups. The full committee will mark up the bill later in the week on Wednesday 5/13 and Thursday 5/14.

The House Armed Services Committee released its FY16 NDAA committee report this week. A copy of the report can be found at:


The House will consider the FY16 NDAA next week. Amendments were due to the House Rules Committee this week. A list of the submitted amendments can be found at:


U.S. Fleet Cyber Command Releases Five-Year Strategic Plan

The U.S. Fleet Cyber Command (US FCC) operates and defends the Navy’s networks and shore-to-ship communications systems. This week they released an updated five-year strategic plan that lays out five strategic goals that they plan on achieving in the next five years. Those goals are:

  1. Operate the Network as a Warfighting Platform

Defend Navy networks, communication, and space systems, ensure availability and, when necessary, fight through them to achieve operational objectives.

  1. Conduct Tailored Signals Intelligence

Meet the evolving SIGINT needs of Navy commanders through more tailored operations, while continuing to deliver on NSA needs.

  1. Deliver Warfighting Effects Through Cyberspace

Advance our effects-delivery capabilities to support a full spectrum of operations, including cyber, electromagnetic maneuver, and information operations.

  1. Create Shared Cyber Situational Awareness

Create a sharable cyber Common Operating Picture that evolves to full, immediate awareness of our network and everything that happens on it.

  1. Establish and Mature Navy’s Cyber Mission Forces

Stand up 40 highly expert Cyber Mission Teams and plan for the sustainability of these teams over time.

For each of those five-year goals, the US FCC also cites specific, verifiable outcomes that must be achieved in the next 18 months to ensure that they are on course. And, they will develop an execution plan to translate their goals and strategies into measurable lower-tier goals. Accountability for accomplishing each lower-tier goals will reside with a role on the leadership team and there will be bi-monthly reviews between Commander and goal owners.

A copy of the strategy can be found at:


FY17 Budget Guidance from OMB

Shaun Donovan, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget sent a memo to all federal department and agency heads last week directing them to submit FY17 budgets to OMB that reflect a 5% reduction below the net discretionary total provided for their agency for FY2017 in the FY2016 Budget (unless otherwise directed by OMB). The reduction applies equally to defense and non-defense programs. Agencies that are split between the two may not reduce defense by more than 5% to offset non-defense or vice-versa. OMB also requests that their budget submissions include recommendations for increasing effectiveness and reducing fragmentation, overlap, and duplication.

In addition, agencies were asked to identify additional investments in programs that support their missions, especially programs with strong evidence of effectiveness. These additional investments should be separately identified in their budget submission and ranked in priority order.

Their FY17 submissions must also exclude: 1) shifts of costs to other parts of the Federal budget; 2) reclassifications of existing discretionary spending to mandatory; 3) reductions to mandatory spending to be enacted in appropriations bills; 4) across-the-board reductions; and 5) the enactment of new user fees to offset existing spending. These may, however, be included as separate proposals for consideration.

A copy of OMB Director Donovan’s memo can be found at:


New Members Appointed to Homeland Security Advisory Committee

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced the appointment of four new members to the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). The HSAC is comprised of experts from state, local and tribal governments, emergency and first responder communities, academia and the private sector who provide recommendations and advice to the Secretary of Homeland Security on a variety of homeland security issues.

The new members announced this week include: Former U.S. Representative from Arizona Ron Barber; Kayyem Solutions, LLC Founder Juliette Kayyem; Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr.; and Council on Foreign Relations Adjunct Senior Fellow Farah Pandith.

The full list of the Homeland Security Advisory Council members can be found at:


Political Updates

President Obama announced his intention to nominate the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., as the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The President also nominated Air Force Gen. Paul Selva to become the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Selva is now the head of the U.S. Transportation Command. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) promised this week to consider Dunford’s nomination quickly. McCain also noted that the current Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey’s term isn’t up until September, so confirmation could be held in July or September.

President Obama nominated Dr. Karen DeSalvo to be Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the position she has held in an “acting” capacity since last October. DeSalvo is also the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS. Before joining HHS, she served as Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, and also as Senior Health Policy Advisor for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. DeSalvo was a practicing internal medicine physician and professor of medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine where she also held various leadership positions.

The President also withdrew the nomination of Juan Garcia to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Garcia’s nomination was first sent to the Senate on March 19, 2015. Garcia has been the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserves since 2009. He is resigning to take a position as a director at Amazon.

The 2016 Presidential race saw several new candidates throw their hats in the ring this week. Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas; Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard; and Ben Carson, former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon all announced their candidacies this week.

New York’s 11th Congressional District held a special election this week to fill the vacancy from former Rep. Michael Grimm’s (R-NY) resignation. Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan (R-NY) easily won the special election. Donovan defeated Democrat Vincent Gentile, a City Council member from Brooklyn.

Coming Up

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said this week that the Senate would take up the following measures before Memorial Day: S. 995, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015; an extension of the highway bill, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Washington Weekly – May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015

The House passed the FY16 Budget Resolution conference report as well as the FY16 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Energy and Water appropriations bills. The House also passed a resolution disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014.The Senate confirmed Dava Newman to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and began consideration of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

FY16 Appropriations

The FY16 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) and Energy and Water (E&W) appropriations bills were on the House floor this week. MilCon-VA passed by a vote of 255 to 163 and E&W passed by a vote of 240 to 177.

FY16 Energy & Water (E&W) Appropriations Bill

Final passage of the $35.4B FY16 E&W came after the House voted to adopt two climate-related amendments. One would bar funding for the Department of Energy to consider a report that analyzed the life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions when making determinations on liquefied natural gas exports and the other would bar funding for a DOE program that evaluates predictive models of the Earth’s climate. The House also adopted an amendment that would bar funding from being used to implement or enforce energy efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs. Democrats who opposed the bill criticized the funding levels that lock in sequestration as well as policy riders including ones that would bar the Obama administration from implementing its National Oceans Policy and its clean water rule. The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) threatening a veto of the measure.

White House FY16 E&W appropriations bill SAP:


FY16 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill

The $76.1B MilCon-VA spending bill hit a roadblock when a series of amendments offered by Rep. Mulvaney (R-SC) and Rep. Van Hollen (D-MD) gained significant support and looked like they might pass. The amendments would have stricken $532M in military construction related funding from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account citing the use of the OCO fund as a budget gimmick. The bill was pulled from the floor until Republicans were sure they had enough votes to defeat the amendments. Mulvaney and Van Hollen have vowed to bring up similar amendments to every spending bill that includes OCO funding, which may cause problems for the FY16 Defense appropriations bill when it comes to the House floor later this year. The House did adopt a number of amendments to the bill including one by Rep. Stefanik (R-NY) that would shift $30M from overall Defense Department construction funding to defense-wide planning and design funding with the goal of creating an East Coast missile defense site. The House also adopted an amendment prohibiting funding from being used to implement a new round of BRAC.

White House FY16 MilCon-VA appropriations bill SAP:


FY16 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill

The House Appropriations full committee approved its $3.3B FY16 Legislative Branch spending bill by voice vote this week. The bill could be on the House floor the week of May 18 after the House returns from recess.

FY16 Legislative Branch spending bill full committee:


FY16 Legislative Branch draft committee report:


FY16 Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill

The House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved its $55.3B FY16 spending bill this week, which is an increase of $1.5B over FY15, but $9.7B below the President’s budget request. The bill includes several policy riders including provisions that would continue to stall enforcement of trucker rest rules and allow longer double-trailers on highways. The chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. Diaz-Balart (R-FL) also included provisions that would block regularly scheduled flights to Cuba and prevent cruise ships from docking in Cuban ports. The bill now goes to the full committee for consideration.

FY16 Transportation-HUD subcommittee bill:


FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) met this week in full committee to mark up its FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The committee worked its way through more than 300 proposed amendments and approved the $515B bill at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday by a vote of 60 to 2. Reps. Garamendi (D-CA) and Brooks (R-AL) voted against the measure. The bill authorizes $495.9B for the Pentagon’s base budget and $19B for national security programs within the Department of Energy. It also authorizes $89.2B in OCO funding. The bill will be considered on the House floor the week of May 11.

The committee adopted several amendments during consideration of the bill. Most notably was an amendment offered by Rep. McSally (R-AZ) that would prohibit the retirement of the A-10 Warthog. The bill authorizes $682.7M to keep the A-10s flying in FY16. Also adopted was an amendment by Rep. Conaway (R-TX) that would require congressional authorization before the Department of Defense enters into any contract to plan for, design, refurbish, or construct a biofuels refinery. The committee also passed two significant cybersecurity amendments. The first requires the Secretary of Defense to brief Congress on progress toward providing an annual budget justification for Cyber Mission Forces and related programs by the time the FY17 budget request is submitted. The second requires the Secretary of Defense to brief Congress on cyber risks introduced by smart building technologies including access control systems.

The panel rejected an amendment by ranking member Adam Smith (D-WA) that would have stripped provisions in the bill that limit the transfer of Guantánamo detainees to the U.S. and require certifications for international transfers and releases. Smith also offered but withdrew an amendment that would have authorized another BRAC round in 2017. He will instead push for a floor vote on the amendment. The panel also rejected an amendment from Rep. Gibson (R-NY) that would strike the provision in the bill that overhauls the DOD retirement system and would have replaced it with a requirement for the Pentagon to assess the modification further and report to Congress. And Rep. Speier (D-CA) failed in her amendment that would have redirected funding for six F-35s.

Text of the legislation and amendments as well as the recorded votes can be found at:


FY16 Budget

The House adopted an FY16 Budget Resolution conference agreement by a vote of 226 to 197. All Democrats and 14 Republicans voted against the measure. The Senate will consider the measure next week. The budget resolution is not a bill and does not go the President for his signature.

The conference agreement reflects the FY16 statutory caps for discretionary spending of $523B for defense and $493.5B for non-defense, but it also calls for $96B for OCO funding. The agreement does not include the Senate point of order requiring a 60-vote threshold for OCO funding exceeding $58B in FY16 and $59.5B in FY17.

The compromise does include budget reconciliation instructions that could result in the partial repeal or changes to the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Workforce committees in the House and the Finance and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committees in the Senate have until July 24 to write legislation to repeal or change the health care law. This provides legislators enough time to move a legislative response to a Supreme Court ruling on federal health care subsidies that is expected in June. Reconciliation legislation only needs a simply majority of 51 votes in the Senate. While it could pass both the House and the Senate, the President would likely veto the measure with Congress unable to override the veto.

DHS Acquisition Reform Legislation Introduced in House

Today a bipartisan group of House Homeland Security Committee members introduced HR 2199, the DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act. The bill is similar to HR 4228, a bill that passed the House last June. This new bill requires that every major acquisition program have an approved Acquisition Program Baseline (APB); authorizes the Department’s Chief Acquisition Officer, the Undersecretary for Management, to approve, halt, modify, or cancel major acquisition programs as needed; compels DHS to submit to Congress major acquisition programs that fail to meet cost, schedule, or performance metrics through quarterly status and accountability reports; and requires that a Multiyear Acquisition Strategy be included in each Future Years Homeland Security Program. The committee is interested in additional ideas to improve the bill through amendment by regular order.

A copy of the bill can be found at:


Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act Draft Guidance for Federal Agencies

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its draft guidance for federal agencies to ensure that the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) is applied consistently government-wide.

FITARA was passed by Congress and enacted into law on December 19, 2014. The Act outlines specific requirements related to:

  1. Chief Information Officer (CIO) Authority Enhancements
  2. Enhanced Transparency and Improved Risk Management in IT Investments
  3. Portfolio Review
  4. Expansion of Training and Use of IT Cadres
  5. Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative
  6. Maximizing the Benefit of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative
  7. Government-wide Software Purchasing Program

To implement the requirements of FITARA, combined with the need to update policy and guidance related to other modern IT practices, OMB is establishing this guidance. This guidance reflects input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including representatives from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO), Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO), Assistant Secretary for Management (ASAM), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and CIO communities.

OMB is seeking feedback and suggestions on the draft guidance. Comments are due May 30, 2015, but OMB is encouraging responders to submit more substantive comments by May 15. Feedback can be provided in three ways:

  1. Email comments to fitara@cio.gov (to comment privately).
  2. Submit comments/suggestions via GitHub issues. https://github.com/WhiteHouse/fitara Each issues is a conversation initiated by a member of the public. You can join in on discussions or start a new issue.
  3. Use GitHub’s in-browser editor to edit files and submit a pull request. https://github.com/WhiteHouse/fitara

A copy of the guidance can be found at:


House May Agenda

House Majority Leader McCarthy (R-CA) sent a memo to House Republicans on Friday outlining the House agenda for the month of May. The May agenda includes legislation requiring the EPA and Corps of Engineers to withdraw proposed regulations for the Clear Water Act as well as three national security related measures – the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, and the USA Freedom Act. The agenda also calls for a week of science and technology related measures including: H.R. 880, the American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015; H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act; H.R. 1561, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act; H.R. 1119, the Research and Development Efficiency Act; H.R. 1156, the International Science and Technology Cooperation Act; H.R. 1162, the Science Prize Competitions Act; H.R. 1158, the DOE Lab Modernization & Technology Transfer Act; and H.R. 874, the American Super Computing Leadership Act. The House will also consider the FY16 Legislative Branch spending bill, and members will need to act on the impending expiration of the authorities under the Highway Trust Fund.

A copy of Majority Leader McCarthy’s memo can be found at:


Political Updates

Loretta Lynch was officially sworn in on Monday as the 83rd Attorney General of the United States, but the first African-American woman to hold the position.

Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) announced his intent to run for President this week giving Hillary Clinton her first official challenger in the Democratic primary. Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas is expected to announce his candidacy on Tuesday May 5 in Hope, Arkansas. This will be his second bid for President.

President Obama nominated Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger as Assistant Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration at the Department of Homeland Security and Gayle Smith as Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Neffenger has served as the Vice Commandant of the US Coast Guard since May of last year. And Smith is a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development and Democracy on the National Security Council. Prior to joining the administration, Smith was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and lived and worked in Africa for almost 20 years.

Stephen Preston, General Counsel at the Department of Defense, will leave federal service at the end of June after serving for six years in the Obama administration. Preston previously served as General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and played a leading role in the administration’s counterterrorism and drone campaigns including in the preparation for the 2011 U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Preston will return to work in the private sector and has accepted an adjunct faculty appointment at Yale Law School.

Al Tarasiuk, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the Office of the Director for National Intelligence (ODNI), retired this week after more than 28 years in the federal government. Prior to joining ODNI, Taraksiuk spent five years as the CIO of CIA.

Michael Vickers, the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence at the Department of Defense stepped down on Thursday. Vickers has held this position since March of 2011, but announced his decision to leave earlier this year. Vickers has not announced his next step.

Next Week

The House is in recess next week. When it returns the following week it could take up the FY16 Legislative Branch appropriations bill as well as the FY16 NDAA. The Senate will resume consideration of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act and take up the FY16 Budget Resolution conference report. The Senate will also make its second attempt this year to override a presidential veto when they take up a measure (S J Res 8) that aims to block union election rules.