On August 27, the Hampton RoadsChamber held a small briefing with Senator Mark Warner’s lead staff member on the Senate Budget Committee, Amy Edwards, on efforts to better manage the nation's resources and programs. Senator Warner is Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Government Performance Task Force. Edwards is traveling the state to brief business leaders and seek input and feedback on this issue. She provided the group with a presentation on Warner’s performance improvement agenda and fielded questions from the audience.
Edwards addressed Senator Warner’s work on the Budget Committee to try and improve the performance and accountability of the federal government as it relates to our long term budget challenges. The below is an outline of the Senator’s agenda:
PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT AGENDA
KNOW WHAT WORKS. Senator Warner was a lead sponsor of the Government Performance Results Modernization Act of 2010. This legislation revised the performance management and reporting framework for the entire federal government to breakdown agency silos, require quarterly results reporting and to create the first-ever federal inventory of programs. This new performance management framework provides valuable data to show taxpayers how the government is working and arms Congress with better data to reduce overlap and duplication of programs. Results can be seen at www.performance.gov.
FOLLOW THE MONEY. The federal government does not have a transparent system that allows taxpayers and policymakers to track spending. Senator Warner introduced bipartisan legislation - the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) that would require that all federal spending be made transparent on Usaspending.gov. This proposal requires consistent government-wide financial data standards that would essentially create an online checkbook for the federal government's spending.
DELIVER BETTER SERVICE. Service delivery breakdowns are in the headlines daily - Veterans wait for months for critical services and Federal retirees wait for more than a year to receive the benefits they've earned. Senator Warner's Government Customer Service Improvement Act expands the existing performance management framework to track service delivery across the government to reduce the delays. This legislation will establish government-wide customer service standards, hold agencies accountable for service and creates a service improvement unit to reduce service breakdowns and backlogs.
BREAK-DOWN SILOS. The federal government has hundreds of duplicative programs that need to be restructured, consolidated and improved to make them more efficient and effective. Senator Warner offered legislation to restore executive reorganization authority that would establish a "fast track" process for considering reorganization proposals from the President that will save taxpayer money and make the government more efficient.
BALANCE REGULATORY COSTS. For thirty years, presidents of both parties have required most federal agencies to analyze the costs and benefits of major new regulations and abide by other principles designed to filter out excessive red tape. Senator Warner sponsored legislation to require independent agencies to also comply with the commonsense cost benefit analysis requirements for any rule that will have a significant impact on the economy.
CUT GOVERNMENT WASTE. Senator Warner required federal agencies to identify outdated and wasteful federal reporting requirements each year in the GPRA Modernization Act. As a result, Senator Warner will introduce legislation this year to eliminate nearly 400 reporting requirements from about 30 agencies across the government that will save taxpayer resources.