Bill would split management, budget

GAO High Risk report

In his first act as chairman of a new subcommittee on government efficiency, Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.) introduced a bill Wednesday to split the two functions within the Office of Management and Budget.

The bill would create a separate Office of Management, with its own director reporting directly to the president. The new office would be responsible for management practices at each agency and department, as well as governmentwide management issues. The Office of Budget would handle only budget issues.

"The unpleasant reality is that tying management to the power of the budget process was an excellent theory, but one that never worked," Horn said when introducing the bill. "The pressures and dynamics of the annual budget process have simply overwhelmed nearly every initiative aimed at improving management."

In its January report on high-risk programs and areas, the General Accounting Office cited management as the basis for many of the problems. Technology is part of the solution, but government could save billions of dollars by providing an office that would focus on the management challenges in federal agencies — including financial management, information security, and workforce matters, Horn said.

"Yes, we need to strengthen the president's staff in the area of information technology, but we have an even greater need to have an integrated approach to management improvement," he said.

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