Program Management Bill Heads to Obama's Desk

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is a champion of the bill. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is a champion of the bill. Paul Sancya/AP

On its way toward President Obama is a bill passed by the Senate last week aimed at improving agency program management and creating a new federal career path focused on that discipline.

In a unanimous vote on Wednesday, the Senate approved a modified House version of the 2015 Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (S. 1550).

The bill, which borrows standards-based efficiency reforms from the private sector, would create a formal job series and career path for program managers; designate a senior executive in agencies responsible for program management policy and strategy; and create an interagency council on program management to share tips for success.

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It was championed 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. It was pushed for years by the nonprofit Project Management Institute.

“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, the institute’s president and CEO. The group’s research shows that only 64 percent of government strategic initiatives meet their goals, and that government entities waste $101 million for every $1 billion invested in projects and programs. 

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