Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is one sponsor of the bill, which will now go back to the Senate for fine-tuning.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is one sponsor of the bill, which will now go back to the Senate for fine-tuning. Evan Vucci/AP file photo

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House Clears Bill to Strengthen Program Management

All agencies would appoint new program improvement officers.

Senate-passed bill to bring private-sector performance standards to federal program management cleared the House on Thursday by voice vote.

The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (S. 1550), introduced by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and shepherded through the House by Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, would create new agency specialists in the discipline of program management; require the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget to create a Program Management Policy Council; and direct agencies to appoint program management improvement officers.

The bill, which returns to the Senate for what is expected to be fine-tuning, is built around private-sector efficiency practices. It would create a formal federal job series and career path for program managers, spur development of a standards-based program management policy governmentwide, and highlight the key role of executive sponsorship by having each agency designate an official to be in charge and share best practices through the new interagency body. 

“This critical legislation will help maximize efficiency within the U.S. federal government, thereby generating more successful program outcomes and increasing the value that Americans receive for their tax dollars,” said Mark Langley, president and CEO of the nonprofit Project Management Institute based outside of Philadelphia, which helped craft the bill. “We encourage the Senate to accept the changes made by the House and send this bill to President Barack Obama’s desk as soon as possible.”