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MARCH 14, 2002Mr. Chairman, Representative Hoyer, Members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased to be here this morning to discuss the President's FY 2003 Budget request for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
IntroductionLet me start by noting that my colleagues at OMB and throughout the Executive Branch have worked hard to present this Congress and our fellow citizens with a very different budget for Fiscal Year 2003. I would like to bring to the Committee's attention some new features which I hope will now become part of your annual expectations and deliberations. This budget takes seriously the assessment of government performance, and its relationship to future spending. Activities where effectiveness can be proven are maintained and often reinforced; those that demonstrably fail, or can make no showing of effectiveness, in many cases are looked to as sources of funding. The days when programs float along year after year, spending taxpayer dollars with never a showing of reasonable results or return, must give way to an era of accountable government. This and all future budgets must no longer be permitted to answer only "How much?" They must also answer the question "How well?" This innovation responds to decades of calls by good government advocates. While long overdue, it is essential at a time when the physical safety of Americans requires that the federal government take on many additional, expensive tasks. It would be unconscionable to fund poorly performing programs given the realities of our economy and homeland security needs.
A Two-front War Against TerrorismMr. Chairman, we presented a budget for a two-front war. It proposes substantial increases, those the President believes necessary to deliver on the paramount duty of the federal government, to secure the safety of the American people. Last year's budget began the reconstruction of a neglected national defense base, and that project continues now with new urgency. Funding for the category of activities we now term "Homeland Security" will double under the President's plan: airline security, first responders, bioterrorism, border security and preventive law enforcement, are all scheduled for major increases as recommended to the President by Governor Tom Ridge.
We have worked closely with the Office of Homeland Security to define and budget for these activities. We will guard against and oppose efforts to divert funds from Homeland Security requirements or to misclassify unrelated funding under Homeland Security's priority status. Winning our two-front war is not optional, and will be expensive. As in other times of national conflict, tradeoffs will be required. We propose a very reasonable level that allows spending not related to the war or homeland defense to grow by around 2%. Within this "Rest of Government" category the President proposes $355 billion in spending. It must be noted that the activities it encompasses have enjoyed rapid funding increases during recent years, growing by an average annual rate of more than 8% since 1998. Within this enormous sum, it is both possible and desirable to increase high priority programs of proven effectiveness. Dozens of programs across the government are scheduled for growth based on demonstrated results.
Measuring Performance and Delivering ResultsFor decades, good government advocates have called for systematic measurement of government's performance, and its reflection in the allocation of resources. In 1993, Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which was intended to implement this reform, but the potential of GPRA has been only partially realized. The President's budget for 2003 responds to Congress' instruction, differentiating where the facts are available between programs that work and those that do not. Many programs of proven effectiveness are strengthened by shifting funds from those which can make no proof of performance.
A serious attitude toward performance is long overdue. It takes on special urgency at a time when the demands of national security assert a heavy claim on our resources. We hope the findings of this budget will trigger interest in performance assessment, and bring forth much new information about that large majority of programs for which we have no useful data at all.
Full Funding for Federal Retiree CostsIn the interest of both accuracy and sound management, the President's FY 2003 Budget takes a major step toward full cost accounting of programs and departments by recording the costs of health and retirement benefits at the time and in the accounts where the costs are borne. At long last, the true cost of these programs will be visible, and managers will have full incentive to control the costs of additional personnel. This budget corrects a long-standing understatement of the true cost of literally thousands of government programs. For some time, the accruing costs of the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) and the Military Retirement System (MRS) have been charged to the affected salary and expense accounts, but agencies have only paid a portion of the costs for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees and a few other small retirement systems. A large portion of the liability has been unfunded and the remainder hidden in OPM's mandatory accounts. The full cost of accruing benefits should be charged to the affected salary and expense accounts, so that choices for program managers and budget decision-makers are not distorted by inaccurate cost information. To state the obvious, if Congress chooses to reject this reform, the Administration will strongly oppose the $9 billion in requested discretionary appropriations from being seized and spent on other programs. These resources need to be available for Federal employee retirements one way or mother, but obviously we do not intend for them to be spent twice.
OMB BudgetFor FY 2003, the Office of Management and Budget requests budget authority of $73.5 million. This request is the same as the FY 2002 enacted level, adjusted for the Administration's proposal to fully fund accruing federal retiree costs. The OMB budget request will provide 510 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, 17 below the FY 2002 FTE level of 527. The Office of Management and Budget assists the President in the development and implementation of a government-wide budget, fiscal, and management policies. As the chief management and budget office of the Executive Branch, we have a special obligation to adhere to budgetary discipline and maximize productivity. As you can see from our budget request for FY 2003, OMB is committed to maintaining budgetary restraint while funding new initiatives including emphasis on government-wide information technology and E-Government. As it has for agencies across government; OMB has compared its management capabilities and organization against the standards for success of the President's Management Agenda. The baseline evaluation as of September 30, 2001 indicated that there is work to be done at OMB in each of the five areas targeted by tile President for government-wide improvement. Our particular focus will be to better manage OMB's human capital and effectively harness information technology.
Consolidated Executive Office of the President AppropriationAs you know, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), despite the name, has never been budgeted for as a single entity and is not currently covered under a single appropriation. As part of the FY 2003 Budget, the Administration is again requesting a consolidation and financial realignment for the EOP. The initiative would consolidate 15 EOP components and fund them with a single appropriation for a total of $336.2 million. This will give the President maximum flexibility in allocating resources and staff in support of his office and is intended to: permit a more rapid response to changing needs and priorities; allow the President to address emergent national needs; produce greater economies of scale and other efficiencies in procuring goods and services; and, enhance accountability for performance. This initiative will allow the President to align EOP resources to meet changing national priorities - something he cannot do now under the current account structure. I know that Mr. Phil Larsen, Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Administration will be talking with you later this afternoon about this proposal.
Electronic Government E-GovI'd like to spend a little time discussing an item that is important to the President and is under the purview of this subcommittee -"The E-Gov Fund." Let me start by highlighting the recent Council for Excellence in Government Survey that found 70% of Americans favor investing in E-Government to mal
ConclusionThe OMB budget request for FY 2003 reflects the President's commitment to hold down spending levels in light of our Nation's new priorities in the war against terrorism at home and abroad. I want to thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today to discuss the OMB budget request. I look forward to working with the Committee. I would be happy to address any questions the Committee may have on the OMB budget or other budgetary issues.