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S. 1172 (114th): Edward “Ted” Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 19, 2016.

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on December 18, 2015. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Edward "Ted" Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 to direct the President to plan and coordinate activities to facilitate an efficient transfer of power to a successor President, including by: (1) not later than six months before a presidential election, establishing and operating a White House transition coordinating council; and (2) establishing and operating an agency transition directors council.

The General Services Administration (GSA) must designate a senior career appointee to: (1) carry out the duties and authorities of GSA relating to presidential transitions, (2) serve as the Federal Transition Coordinator to coordinate transition planning across agencies; (3) ensure that agencies comply with all statutory requirements relating to transition planning and reporting, and (4) act as a liaison to eligible candidates.

Each executive agency shall designate a senior career employee to oversee transition activities.

The Federal Transition Coordinator shall: (1) negotiate a memorandum of understanding with the transition representative of each eligible candidate on the conditions of access to employees, facilities, and documents of agencies by transition staff; and (2) submit reports to specified congressional committees on the activities undertaken by the current administration and executive agencies to prepare for the transfer of power to a new President.

(Sec. 3) This section requires the President's annual budget request to Congress to include funding for the management and custody of presidential records by the National Archives and Records Administration for each fiscal year in which the term of office of the President will expire.

(Sec. 4) This section directs the Office of Personnel Management to submit to specified congressional committees annual reports on requests by agencies to appoint political appointees or former political appointees to nonpolitical civil service positions. These reports shall be submitted quarterly in the last year of a presidential term or in the last year of the second consecutive term of a President.

(Sec. 5) This section directs the Government Accountability Office to report to specified congressional committees on final significant regulatory actions promulgated during the last 120-day period of presidential administrations ending in 2001, 2009, and 2017. A significant regulatory action means any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, the environment, productivity, competition, jobs, public health or safety, or state, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an agency action; (3) materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs, or (4) raise novel legal or policy issues.

(Sec. 6) This section directs the Department of Homeland Security to submit, not later than February 15, 2016, a report to specified congressional committees analyzing the threats and vulnerabilities facing the United States during a presidential transition.