Cutting Red Tape Could Prove Lucrative for Agencies

Khakimullin Aleksandr/

With agencies engaged in the multi-year process of creating performance-based government, two House members have introduced a bill to import “continuous improvement” practices found in state government and private business and adopt them in Washington.

Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, on July 16 unveiled the Lean and Responsive Government Act  to require agencies to adopt steps to “set clear, measurable goals, analytically evaluate overly bureaucratic systems, and reduce Washington red-tape in a sustainable manner,” he said. What differs from current law is that he would tie “continuous process improvement to the annual congressional budgetary requests for each federal agency.” Each agency’s chief operating officer would implement the continuous improvement techniques and include information on their efforts in an annual report to Congress.

“Embracing this approach empowers departments and agencies,” Latham added, “to take innovative steps to reduce waste in their organizations and apply those resources to other priorities without requiring additional funds.”

Latham’s approach drew backing from Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who introduced what became the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act signed by President Obama in 2010. Cuellar said the new bill “further raises the standard that taxpayers expect of the federal government and I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure a responsive and effective government.” 

Promising to save “billions” in avoided waste and duplication, Latham noted that NASA already is using some of the continuous improvement, data-driven techniques. “Unlike any successful company or business, the federal government does not operate under an overarching strategic plan,” he said. “Instead, the government operates under hundreds of individual operating plans for each agency. The result is a vast and chaotic alphabet soup of agencies and programs that often duplicate services and sometimes compete with one another.”

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

(Image via Khakimullin Aleksandr/

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.