Agency performance bill to become law

Wednesday - 12/22/2010, 8:15am EST

By Vyomika Jairam
Digital News Writer
Federal News Radio

A bill that would require better tracking of agency performance and wasteful spending is on its way to President Obama after passing in the House yesterday.

The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (H.R. 2142) requires agencies to set measurable performance goals and provide regular updates to Congress and the public.

The legislation would also require federal agencies to improve coordination to avoid duplicative programs and post regular performance updates on a public website.

In addition, agencies will assign senior officials to serve as chief operating officers and performance improvement officers. Among other responsibilities, these two positions would be responsible for finding significant cost savings by eliminating redundant programs.

"No one can afford to waste money - especially not the government and especially not now," Rep. Henry Cuellar, who sponsored the bill, said in a press release. "It's time that we put a new system in place to review the results of each federal program and evaluate its effectiveness. Better information yields better decisions. This legislation will help Congress invest in what works, fix what doesn't and eliminate the wasteful overlap. Redundancy at a time when so many Americans are struggling to make ends meet isn't just a waste of resources - it's shameful."

The legislation is an update of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. Under GPRA, agencies are required to provide data on an annual basis on their projects and progression.

Last week, the bill was dealt a setback after unanimously passing in the Senate but falling short of the two-thirds needed in the House.

In an earlier interview with Federal News Radio's Francis Rose, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), one of the co-sponsors of the Senate bill, said GPRMA is another step in increasing government accountability.

"I like to quote Vince Lombardi. He used to say 'If you're not keeping score, you're just practicing,' and we've been practicing long enough," Carper said. "We need to keep score."