PSC wants OMB to tweak its regs memo

The move to eliminate and streamline federal agency reporting and small business payment regulations needs some sharpening, the industry group says.

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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.