The Administration supports the efforts to improve the effectiveness and
performance of Federal financial assistance programs, which is the intent
of S. 468, the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act.
Making it easier for States, local governments, and non-profit
organizations to apply for and report on financial assistance is an
important goal and one that we support.
However, the Administration strongly opposes the bill because of our
continuing concerns regarding its requirements, which in some cases are
inconsistent with existing program statutes. As has been stated previously
in communications to Congress on H.R. 409 and similar bills considered by
the previous Congress, the bill provides little guidance about how the
agencies would achieve the goal of commonality without the authority to
overcome statutory barriers. With widely varying statutory and
programmatic requirements among grant programs, a one-size-fits-all
approach would likely fail to achieve better administration of Federal
resources and would add unnecessary costs and burdens to the agencies.
In addition, many agencies would be required to go through extensive
revision of regulations and information collections, including public
comment periods and consultation with State and local officials, in order
to meet the requirement of common application and reporting forms across
all grant programs. At the same time, the agencies would be required to
create a common system for electronic processing of all grant programs in a
time frame that is not consistent with the Government Paperwork Elimination
Act of 1998.
The Administration believes the negative results of the bill would far
outweigh the benefits of a more reasoned approach to reform of the grant
making process. Any attempt at reform must provide the agencies with the
time and resources necessary to meet their goals.