House passes bill to improve program performance

The bill would strengthen the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 and would put elements of an executive order on performance management into law.

The House has passed a bill meant to boost the importance of program assessments in statute to make the government work more proficiently.

The Government Efficiency, Effectiveness and Performance Improvement Act (H.R. 2142) would require all federal agencies to clearly define goals focused on a program's outcomes and then submit plans for reaching those goals. Agencies also would have to do quarterly performance assessments of the programs to show whether they are meeting those goals. Then the assessments and official comments on the reports would be posted online, according to the bill passed June 16 by voice vote.

“Developing valuable performance and evaluation criteria is a difficult and time-consuming process, but I believe the bill before us will push our agencies to more ably identify pertinent goals for measuring a program’s true value,” said Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the subcommittee that oversees government management.


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The subcommittee’s former chairman, Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.) said the government needs this legislation because of ongoing programs.

“One of the reasons that we find ourselves in such a substantial debt today is that federal programs never end. Both high-performing and low-performing programs continue on year after year after year, often with increasing funds,” he said.

The bill would strengthen the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 and would put elements of a 2007 executive order on performance management into law.

Recently, the Obama administration told agencies to find waste and get rid of it, asking each agency to cut low-performing programs to reduce its fiscal 2012 discretionary spending proposals by 5 percent.

The legislation now goes to the Senate.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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