Senators Make Bipartisan Push for Transparency From White House Budget Office

July 17, 2019 by Dan McCue
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, in the Oval Office of the White House on March 27, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of Senators led by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is calling on the White House Office of Management and Budget to publish a full list of all federal programs publicly available on the web to make it easier to identify program waste and duplication.

In a letter sent to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on Tuesday, the group says providing a comprehensive list of federal programs on an easily accessible government website “is critical to helping Congress make informed budgetary decisions and ensuring that we are able to identify – and take appropriate steps to eliminate – duplication, fragmentation, and overlap in federal programs.” 

They go on to say the list they seek “is a key component of ongoing efforts to improve the federal budgeting process, including by better incorporating performance metrics into budget decision-making.”

The Democrats who signed the letter include Senators Kyrsten Sinema, of Arizona, Maggie Hassan, of New Hampshire, Mark Warner, of Virginia, and Gary Peters, of Michigan.

In addition to Senator Enzi, the Republican signatories include Senators James Lankford, of Oklahoma,  John Kennedy, of Louisiana, Mike Braun, of Indiana, Mike Crapo, of Idaho, David Perdue, of Georgia, Mitt Romney, of Utah, Kevin Cramer, of North Dakota, Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania,  Rick Scott, of Florida, Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, and Chuck Grassley, of Iowa.

The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 requires OMB to issue guidance to agencies for implementing the inventory requirement and identifying information about each program for publication.

An initial program inventory published by OMB in May 2013 had 1,524 programs, but in October 2014, the Government Accountability Office found that the 2013 effort had fallen short.

GAO made a number of recommendations to OMB to update relevant guidance, develop a more coherent picture of all federal programs, and better ensure information is useful for decision-makers. These recommendations remain open.

The senators specifically want to know OMB’s strategy and timeline for the program inventory. They also are requesting information about the process OMB is using in its approach to developing a federal program inventory.

The senators asked for a response from the office by July 31.

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