Legislative Update: Big Bills of the Summer

FEDmanager has reported on the introduction of major pieces of legislation throughout the summer. Here is an update on where those bills stand:

CASES Act

In May, the Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituents (CASES) Act of 2019 passed unanimously out of Senate committee after passing the House unanimously weeks earlier.

The legislation streamlined the process by which members of Congress could communicate with federal agencies on behalf of constituents. Under the CASES Act, congressional offices would be able to use an electronic system to receive permission from constituents to assess their case with an agency. Paper authorization systems would still be available.

The legislation passed the Senate by voice vote on July 31 and was signed into law by the president on August 22.

Budget Deal

The budget deal announced last month passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law just before the August recess.

The deal raised spending caps by about $50 billion this year and $54 billion the following year. This move permanently ended the threat of sequestration since automatic spending cuts in the Budget Control Act expire in 2021. Many praised the deal as a step closer to avoiding a government shutdown.

The deal passed the Senate in a 67 to 28 vote and the House in a 284 to 149 vote. President Trump signed the measure into law on August 2.

GREAT Act

In June, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the previous Congress’ Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act.

Under the GREAT Act the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and agency leadership would be required to create a comprehensive and standardized data structure to cover all data elements relating to recipients of federal awards.

While the legislation has not moved in the Senate yet, a related House version of the bill passed on a 422 to 0 vote.

Federal Agency Customer Experience Act (FACE Act) of 2019

The Federal Agency Customer Experience Act (FACE Act) of 2019 was introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in May to reform the process agencies use to gather public feedback.

The legislation directs agencies to develop short, voluntary, and anonymous customer service surveys to address overall public satisfaction, whether an individual accomplished his/her intended purpose, whether an individual was treated with respect and professionalism, and the timeliness of the service.

Questions for the survey would be developed by the Office of Management and Budget in conjunction with the General Services Administration.

In July, the legislation passed the Senate by voice vote. The House also introduced companion legislation later in the month of May which has not been taken up yet.

Posted in From the Hill

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