OMB Identifies More Reports No One Reads

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Dust-gathering, duplicative or outdated agency reports “needlessly divert time and resources away from critical agency mission activities,” the White House deputy budget director wrote on Wednesday in announcing a new list of 74 reports being recommended for cancellation or consolidation.

Beth Cobert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, said the new list “represents another step in the president’s management agenda and overall effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal government.” The flagged reports -- added to 376 identified in December 2012-- are posted on Performance.gov as required under the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act.

The announcement came the same day the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee cleared the Government Reports Elimination Act, sponsored by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., which would kill or modify more than 60 federal reports.

The new White House list, Cobert noted, was prepared with the knowledge that “many reporting requirements have long outlived their need. Since 2000, for example, the Department of Homeland Security has been required to prepare an annual report to Congress on violations of the Dog and Cat Fur Protection Act. For quite some time, however, there has been very little to report, with only one violation found in the past five years.” The act prohibits the importation of products with dog or cat fur.

A second example is the Interior Department’s annual report on its energy Royalty-in-Kind program, which was discontinued in 2009, Cobert said.

She praised Congress’ movement on the issue since the administration first broached the subject in 2012. And she cited the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act’s provisions to streamline “about half of the over 150 reports and plans the Defense Department recommended for modification that year.

“Continuing to produce outdated or duplicate government reports year after year is a waste of time and taxpayer money, and I am pleased to see such strong bipartisan support for eliminating or modifying at least 60 of them,” Warner said in a statement Wednesday. “This is a strong start. Federal agencies should be focused on delivering results for taxpayers instead of wasting time and resources producing reports that nobody uses or even reads.”

The House on April 29 passed a bipartisan bill to cancel 79 agency reports. It was co-sponsored by Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Gerry Connolly, D-Va.; and Rob Woodall, R-Ga.

(Image via racorn/Shutterstock.com)

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