Friday, May 21, 2010
The House Oversight and Reform Committee sent a bill to the House floor amending GPRA to require agencies to report on performance quarterly. Other provisions could lead to performance budgeting and activity based cost accounting -- all big changes in gov
Legislation proposed by Cong. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) to amend the Government Performance and Results Act to require agencies to identify and track high performance goals was passed yesterday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and sent to the House floor for a vote. The bill was originally inspired by the OMB Program Assessment Review Tool, but has been updated to reflect the Obama Administration’s approach to performance management.
Cuellar’s bill (H.R. 2142, as amended) would:
  • Require agency leaders to identify and track high priority goals on a quarterly basis (which is an existing Obama initiative).
  • Post the goals and progress towards them on the web, allow public comment, and require the President to submit quarterly performance reports to Congress.
  • Establish in law the Performance Improvement Council and performance improvement officers (as created by an executive order under President Bush)
The bill also offers a “sense of Congress” that agency heads should consult with “the
committees with jurisdiction over the agency and other interested members of Congress each fiscal year regarding the performance plan and priorities of the agency.” This should be an interesting feat, given that this was attempted with the initial strategic plans created under GPRA in the 1990s and then-speaker Newt Gingrich had to create special task forces to review the plans because the committee structure was too convoluted for any meaningful consultation efforts. For example, several agencies – such as Homeland Security and EPA – each report to more than 70 committees and subcommittees . . . and there is not always a consistent view among them as to the priorities they expect the agencies to focus upon. Conceivably, the legislation – if implemented as the sponsors seem to intend – could require substantial changes in the way Congress itself does business.
The bill was amended in committee to link the pay of senior executives to their agency’s performance, as well as to require the Performance Improvement Council to “develop a website for Federal agency performance information” and “link program performance information to program spending information on the website” This would be an amazing technical feat leading to both performance budgeting and unit cost accounting.
It will be interesting to see how this legislation unfolds!