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Lame Duck Congress May Get Bill Establishing Federal Agency Performance Website

The bill requires each federal agency to designate a “Chief Operating Officer” and a “Performance Improvement Officer.”

Proponents of a Senate bill directing federal agencies to annually post their strategic plans and performance records on a website overseen by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are working to get the proposal passed during the “lame duck” session which is after the November elections and before the new Congress convenes in January, say Capitol Hill staffers.

On Sept. 28, 2010, the proposed Government Performance and Results Modernization Act (S. 3853) was introduced into the Senate by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del.; Mark Warner, D-Va.; and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. The bill was referred to the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee, and on Sept. 29, the committee approved the proposed legislation and offered it as an amendment to a House version of the bill, staffers say.

S. 3853 was offered “as a substitute amendment” to House Resolution (HR) 2142—the Government Efficiency, Effectiveness and Performance Improvement Act, introduced April 28, 2009—because the senate bill is not expected to be marked up as a stand-alone bill this Congress, said a leading member of Carper’s staff who declined to be identified. In addition, the house has accepted S. 3853 as a substitute amendment to HR 2141, ordering HR 2142 “to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute favorably.”

The bill is designed “to make government work better by requiring every federal agency to set clear performance goals that can be accurately measured and publicly reported to Congress and taxpayers in a more transparent way,” says a written statement from Carper. The bill requires each federal agency to designate a “Chief Operating Officer” and a “Performance Improvement Officer,” with the primary responsibility for pursuing cost-savings through the improved analysis and coordination of duplicative programs. Those officials also would be held responsible for considering taxpayer savings through better coordination of administrative functions common to every agency, including purchasing.

The bill also requires federal agencies to post performance data on a single public website on a quarterly, rather than a yearly, schedule. It also sets an ambitious first-year goal of an overall 10-percent reduction in the cumulative number of little used, or outdated, reports mandated by previous administrations and Congresses, the statement says.

“With concerns growing over the mounting federal deficit and national debt, the American people deserve to know that every dollar they send to Washington is being used to its utmost potential,” said Carper. The proposed legislation “will go a long way in improving the performance and efficiency of the federal government and bringing the results our nation demands,” he added.

The public website would be managed by OMB, and that agency “has already been in the works in putting together a type site,” said the staffer. “The transparency and info it provides will be much like (the U.S. government’s website that provides easy access to data related to Recovery Act spending) or the IT dashboard (a website that allows the public to view details on government information),” the staffer added.