Overnight Regulation

Overnight Regulation: Senate votes to crack down on government credit cards

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from Capitol Hill and beyond. It’s Thursday evening here in Washington and while you’re enjoying the new “Star Wars” movie this weekend, I’ll be finishing my Christmas shopping. Here’s the latest.

 

THE BIG STORY 

Congress is cracking down on the use of government-issued credit cards. 

The Senate late Wednesday passed legislation to create an office that will be charged with monitoring what agencies are buying with their charge cards.

The Saving Federal Dollars Through Better Use of Government Purchase and Travel Cards Act of 2015, introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) in June, passed by unanimous consent.

{mosads}The bill directs the General Services Administration (GSA) to establish an Office of Federal Charge Card Analytics and Review (OFCCAR) that will be charged with improving the use and oversight of purchases made by federal agencies and programs.

“While federal agencies have made progress in strengthening financial controls over government travel and purchase cards, more needs to be done to eliminate wasteful charge card spending,” Carper said in a statement. “Congress must continue to work across the aisle to ensure that federal agencies crack down on charge card abuse and taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly across the federal government.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the legislation builds on the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act he was able to get passed in 2012, by adding government oversight.

“Earlier this year, a Defense Department inspector general report, which was drafted in response to the 2012 law, highlighted some areas where the Defense Department was not properly implementing the required controls and flagged casinos as a high risk for misuse of charge cards,” he said in a statement.

“Our bill will make sure we’re looking for similar patterns of misuse across all federal agencies and that agencies are sharing best practices to prevent misuse and identify potential cost savings.”

 

TOMORROW’S REGS TODAY

The Obama administration will publish 166 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Friday’s edition of the Federal Register.

–The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will overhaul inmate calling services so that families can afford to talk to their loved ones who are in prison.

The FCC will adopting rate caps on prison calls. Some families had complained of “excessive and unaffordable phone charges” to stay in touch with relatives behind bars.

The FCC refers to inmate calling services as “unchecked monopolists.”

“Family members report paying egregious amounts, adding up to hundreds of dollars each month, just to stay connected to incarcerated spouses, parents and children,” the agency writes.

The rules go into effect in 90 days. http://bit.ly/1UFQixV

–The Small Business Administration (SBA) will consider new regulations for certifying women-owned small businesses.

These women-owned small businesses participate in federal programs intended to give the company a boost.

Currently, women are allowed to self-certify their small businesses, but the agency is considering new regulations that would require more government oversight.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1QvLOLi

–The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will look to stop the flow of stolen vehicles from being shipped out of the country.

Customs hopes to more closely examine the export of used self-propelled vehicles, the agency says.

“The purpose of this information is to help ensure that stolen vehicles or vehicles associated with other criminal activity are not exported,” the agency writes.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1NAcJQb

–The Department of Defense (DOD) will propose new drunk driving and other traffic regulations on military compounds.

The rules would apply at Army installations worldwide.

The rules would establish a maximum blood alcohol level of .08, and allow for the “involuntary extraction of blood.”

They also address vehicle registration, towing and impounding vehicles, and the use of seat belts.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1MjLzvd

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

Democrats propose federal gun buyback. http://bit.ly/1IX3Svm

Park service under fire for bottled water ban. http://bit.ly/1YobTv5

Nonprofits assail IRS rule. http://bit.ly/1RrIr8l

Disneyland, SeaWorld stepping up security over mass shootings. http://bit.ly/1OzkCoZ

Brazilian court reinstates WhatsApp. http://bit.ly/1k5n3qV

Obama renews call to end Cuba embargo. http://bit.ly/1QvPBIo

GOP: EPA’s illegal ‘propaganda’ may extend to climate rule. http://bit.ly/1QvPEnz

 

BY THE NUMBERS

19: National parks that stopped selling bottled water to cut down on waste.

4: Theme parks that have ramped up security in response to mass shootings around the country – Walt Disney World, Disneyland, SeaWorld and Universal Studios.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It’s high time the industry stopped manipulating our democratic institutions, and instead stepped aside as our leaders support public water access for all,” John Stewart, of Corporate Accountability International, said in a statement about industry efforts to prevent the National Park Service from banning bottled water sales.

 

We’ll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page (http://digital-stage.thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@digital-stage.thehill.com or lwheeler@digital-stage.thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and @wheelerlydia.

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Tags Chuck Grassley Tom Carper

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