March 10, 1998
The Administration opposes House passage of H.R. 2883, the Government
Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Amendments, because it could impede
successful implementation of GPRA and ongoing agency efforts to improve the
development of their strategic plans and annual performance plans.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Accounting Office (GAO) have both testified that amendments to the GPRA are not necessary at this time. The first agency strategic plans were submitted to Congress in September of last year already and are assisting agencies in the development of their FY 1999 performance plans. They will serve as a good first step in this new government-wide effort. The first-ever FY 1999 performance plans are being finalized now and will be revised as needed, to further improve their usefulness to Congress and the Executive Branch.
Unfortunately, H.R. 2883 would place additional burdens on the agencies, as they continue to revise their FY 1999 performance plans and prepare plans for FY 2000. Specifically, the bill would require agencies to prepare additional strategic plans for agency components and revise, under the GPRA consultation process, the recently submitted strategic plans by September 1998 -- just six months from now. Under current law, strategic plans are to be revised by agencies at least every 3 years. The net result of these new additional burdens would be to substantially diminish the quality and utility of both the strategic plans and the annual performance plans.
This is unnecessary. In fact, the GAO January 1998 report, "Managing for Results", finds that: "On the whole, the agencies' strategic plans should prove useful to Congress in undertaking the full range of its appropriation, budget, authorization, and oversight responsibilities and to agencies in setting a general direction for their efforts. These plans appear to provide a workable foundation for the next phase of the Act's implementation -- annual performance planning and measurement."
In addition, H.R. 2883 would require new statutory specifications for all strategic plans, including the newly required revised plans due in September 1998. The Administration opposes these requirements because they are premature. Congress has not had time to use both the strategic plans and annual performance plans and determine what types of revisions are necessary.
Finally, the bill would modify the common sense exemption for small agencies, creating a requirement that is needless and burdensome.