Keeping Track of Federal Agencies

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The Unified Agenda, a list of all the rules federal agencies expect to issue in the upcoming year, was published online this past spring in a new format, in accordance to a new White House directive.

We reviewed the Agenda to identify steps each executive branch agency is taking to promote transparency, and the status of the action.

Department of Defense:

  • Cost and Software Data Reporting – This rule amended the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to address requirements for DoD contractors to establish and maintain a cost and software data reporting process under contracts for major defense acquisition – Final Rule, 11/24/10.
  • Freedom of Information Act Program Regulation: To ensure appropriate agency disclosure – Final Action proposed for 6/11 (no action taken since 2010).
  • Government Support Contractor Access to Technical Data: certain types of Government support contractors to have access to proprietary technical data belonging to prime contractors and other third parties, provided that the technical data owner may require the support contractor to execute a non-disclosure agreement having certain restrictions and remedies – Interim Rule, Comments Due by 5/2/11, Final Action proposed for 8/11.
  • Electronic Order Procedures – DOD makes orders available online so that contracts can be issued in an electronic format. Reports must be filed in an electronic format. Final Rule, effective 5/5/11.

Department of Energy:

  • Freedom of Information Act Regulations – DOE is revising its FOIA regulations to reflect current procedures for processing requests for information that are submitted to the Agency, to ensure compliance with the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996, and to make the regulation more user friendly. – Proposed for 6/11, no action taken since 2008.

Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Third Party Auditing – FDA will allow third party entities to conduct food safety audits. The regulation attempts to include protections for disclosure of conflicts of interest when third party entities review third party companies – Proposed Rule Stage
  • Transparency Reporting – health insurance plans will be required to make information on claims payment policies, the number of claims denied, data on rating practices and other information as determined by the Secretary available to the public, per regulations in the Affordable Health Care Act – Proposed Rule Stage

Department of Homeland Security:

  • Self imposed restrictions on lobbying – Establishes procedures concerning general prohibitions on lobbying and the use of certain appropriated funds, and the appropriate penalties for violations of those prohibitions. The purpose of the procedures is to ensure that neither the recipients of appropriated funds, nor the employees of DHS inappropriately solicit for action by the Congress. – No final rule issued, comment period closed in 2003.
  • Supplementary Ethical Standards – Two significant areas to be addressed by the supplemental regulation are outside employment and the prohibited purchase of Government-owned, seized, or forfeited property by DHS employees. – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last issued 12/10.
  • Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Procedures – This action will amend FOIA regulations including provisions governing information subject to Privacy Act exemptions and procedures for verification of the identity persons under the Privacy Act. – No action taken since 2003.

Department of Justice

Department of Labor

  • Whistleblower Protections – OSHA will establish protections, burdens of proof, and standard practices and protections for whistleblowers according to new authority in Dodd/Frank bill – Final Rule-making Stage, 9/11.
  • Right to Know under Fair Labor Standards Act – Will update the record-keeping regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act in order to enhance the transparency and disclosure to workers of their status – Proposed Rule Stage 10/11.

Department of State

  • FOIA Updates – in accordance with changes to FOIA, federal practices, and executive orders the department will revise information regarding the release of information to the public – Notice of proposed rulemaking suggested for 6/11, no action taken.

Department of Transportation

  • Freedom of Information Act – The purpose for this revision is to update the regulations to be consistent with amendments to FOIA that were signed into law on December 31, 2007, revise DOT´s fee schedule and other charges, and make provisions clearer and easier to locate. – Comments on Proposed Rule ended 2/25/11.

Department of Treasury

  • Tax-Exempt Organizations – rule to clarify documents pertaining to tax-exempt organizations which the IRS will make available – Final Action, proposed 12/11.

Environmental Protection Agency

  • Ethics Standards – efforts to reduce conflict of interest and update ethical standards for EPA employees – here’s this regulation from 2008 and 2009 with the exact same description – final action proposed for 8/11.

Corporation for National and Community Service

  • Whistleblower Protections – “protections for staff and national service participants of Corporation grant recipients who report fraud, waste, or abuse of CNCS funds to the Corporation.” – Proposed Rulemaking suggested for 6/11, no action taken.
  • FOIA Updates – changes to FOIA regulations to shorten appeal time and change financial rates – Final Rule Stage 6/11, no action taken.

Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia

DOD/GSA/NASA (FAR)

  • Updates to Contract Reporting – implement transparent reporting in accordance with the Federal Funding and Transparency Act (FFATA) – no date or citation.
  • Public Access to Federal Contract Information – the information in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), shall be made publicly available – final rule comments closed 3/25/11, final rule stage 6/11.
  • Oversight and Contractor Ethics Program – Rule, effective 6/30/11.
  • Procurement Identifiers – This case defines the requirement for agency unique procurement instrument identifiers and extends the requirement for using PIIDs to all solicitations, contracts, and related procurement instruments across the Federal Government. – Final rule, issued 7/5/11.
  • Subcontractor Reporting Requirements – require first-tier subcontractors with Recovery Act funded awards of $25,000 or more, to report jobs information to the prime contractor for reporting into FederalReporting.gov – Final Rule Stage proposed for 8/11, Interim rule comment period ends 8/31/11.
  • Preventing Conflict of Interest – implement policy on personal conflicts of interest by employees of Government contractors – comment period ended January 2010, no action taken since then.
  • Recovery Act Reporting Requirements – adopt as final, the interim rule that amended the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement section 1512 of Division A of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which requires contractors to report on their use of Recovery Act funds – Final Rule Stage, last action taken in 2009 and previously cited in UA, proposed final rule (but not enacted) for 6/11.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  • FOIA – new regulation to make FOIA requests more user friend and responsive – Proposed Rule Stage

Financial Stability Oversight Council

  • FOIA – recognition and promulgation of FOIA as it applies to the new created council – notice comment period closed 5/27/11.

National Archives and Records Administration

National Endowment for the Humanities

  • FOIA – changes to FOIA procedures – Proposed Rule-making

National Science Foundation

  • FOIA – The Foundation anticipates adding an additional component for FOIA requests, providing for multi-track processing by component, reducing duplication fees, and making changes that clarify procedures or processes. – no date or citation.
  • Conflict of Interest – eliminates 1 year post employment restrictions for non-scientist employees of the foundation – final rule 1/10/11.
  • Sunshine Meeting – clarify and update procedures for making meetings (transcripts, recordings) available to the public – no dates provided.

Office of Government Ethics

Office of Personnel Management

  • FOIA – changes to FOIA requests filed with agency and how they will be processed – last action in 2008.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

  • Whistleblower Program – a new program which provides for financial awards to whistleblowers that provide original information to commission which leads to resolution of administrative action – comment period on 2/4/11 ended, final action for 6/11 but none taken.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

  • Information Database – the Commission will establish and maintain a publicly available, searchable database on the safety of consumer products, and other products or substances regulated by the Commission, which is accessible to the public through the Commission’s website. – Last action taken 12/9/10.

Federal Housing Finance Agency

  • Office of Ombudsman – establishes an office to resolve third party disputes against the agency by those it regulates – final action 2/10/11.

Securities and Exchange Commission

  • Executive Compensation Disclosure – considering recommending that the Commission propose rules to implement sections 953 and 955 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which require disclosure of pay-for-performance, pay ratio, and employee and director hedging. – Proposed Rule-Making Stage, notice of proposed rulemaking to be published 8/11.
  • Security Based Swap Data – new rules to facilitate registration of security-based swap data repositories and a form to be used to register as a security-based swap data repository. – comment period closed 1/24/11, no action since.
  • Whistleblower Program – new provisions to provide a way for whistleblowers who provide original information about violations of SEC regulations, including financial rewards – final rule 6/13/11.
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