Agencies consulting with Congress on their Government Performance and Results strategic plans are in for a hot summer.
Hard on the heels of a tough assessment of agency plans by the Congressional Institute comes a joint Senate hearing next week designed to examine "why executive branch agencies are having difficulty meeting their responsibilities under the act."
Office of Management and Budget Director Franklin Raines and Acting Comptroller General James Hinchman will appear before the Senate Governmental Affairs and Appropriations Committees on June 24.
Congressional crankiness about GPRA consultations has been met by OMB caution. Lawmakers and the Clinton administration have been carrying on a war of letters all year about how much agencies need to tell legislators about their strategic plans how soon and what to do when members of Congress don't like what they see.
Congress wanted agencies to explain any instance when they failed to incorporate or answer a legislator's objection to part of their plan. But in an April 14 memorandum, Raines told agencies that "explanations may appropriately be limited to significant issues or differences and need not be offered for every contrary view."
In the end, agencies appear to be caught between the OMB rock and a congressional hard place on GPRA consultations. If the best they can expect is to be beaten up in both forums, at least they won't be alone. To seek solace and solidarity, those responsible for GPRA planning might consider joining one of 16 interagency GPRA groups newly listed on the National Performance Review's Managing for Results Web site: www.npr.gov/initiati/mfr.