Oversight

OMB needs to raise its streamlining game, GAO says

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Government reform legislation passed in 2010 requires the Office of Management and Budget to conduct annual reviews of agency reports that may have outlived their usefulness.

In a recently released report, the Government Accountability Office found that OMB is not pulling its weight when it comes to reviewing agency requests to eliminate reports. OMB, GAO found, has failed to publish modification proposals at the right times and to the right places.

Since the GPRA Modernization Act passed, OMB has offered 523 proposals for the elimination of reporting requirements, resulting in 34 changes, according to the report. However, OMB is not developing report modification proposals annually, electing to publish every other year in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

The legislative language calls for the administration to include its reporting requests in annual budget submissions. The Obama administration posted them to Performance.gov -- which was cited by GAO as a failing.

GAO also dinged OMB for its emailed instructions to agencies to suggest reports for elimination, which were not, OMB said, in accordance with the requirements of GPRAMA and the OMB's own A-11 circular.

The report was requested by three senior members of the House Oversight and Government Affairs committee: Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) as well as Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the chairman and ranking member of the Government Operations subcommittee respectively.

The Trump administration has tried to weed out what it calls "low value compliance," by getting rid of a series of reporting requirements. OMB did not supply reply comments to the GAO report.

About the Author

Ben Berliner is a former editorial fellow at FCW. He is a 2017 graduate of Kenyon College, and has interned at the Center for Responsive Politics and at Sunlight Foundation.

He can be contacted at [email protected].

Click here for previous articles by Berliner.


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