Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., is one of the sponsors of the bill.

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., is one of the sponsors of the bill. Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP

Bipartisan Bill Seeks Broader Input, More Specifics As Agencies Craft Performance Goals

Agencies should consult with more top leaders before issuing their performance plans, lawmakers say.

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers is pushing to improve the performance plans federal agencies issue each year, introducing legislation that would require input from more leadership officials. 

Currently, the federal statute mandates the plans—first required by the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act—only include consultation with agencies’ heads of human resources. Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Jody Hice, R-Ga., who lead the House Oversight and Reform Committee panel on government operations, are aiming to add the chief information officers, chief data officers and chief financial officers to the process of working with chief performance officers in drafting the documents. 

The Performance Enhancement Reform Act would require “clearly defined milestones” toward meeting workforce, training, data and information technology goals as part of the performance plans, including details on how the agencies will meet their objectives. Agencies would have to spell out specific organizations, program activities, regulations and policies that would help them achieve their goals and identify a specific employee in charge of each one. The measure would also require consultation with outside stakeholders and a detailed list of investments necessary to meet agency goals. 

“Today’s bipartisan legislation is an important step to catalyze collaboration across the executive suite of leaders at federal agencies,” Connolly said. “Collaboration from key stakeholders will help improve how agencies deliver critical resources to the American public.”

Hice added it should have been common sense for agencies to already take the steps outlined in the bill, but many were not doing so. 

“This costs valuable resources, and it has to change if we want to stop wasting time and money,” Hice said, adding his bill would help bring “the federal government into the modern era.” 

The lawmakers said performance plans help Congress hold agencies accountable for reaching their goals and encourage federal leaders to think through their decision making and resource allocation. The White House last month reinstated requirements for federal agencies to create and track performance goals that reflect the Biden administration's objectives as part of the budgeting process, reversing an 11th hour change the Trump administration implemented shortly before leaving office.

The performance requirements were ordered by Pam Coleman, President Biden's pick to serve as OMB's associate director of performance and personnel management. Agencies have until June 4 to submit draft goals to OMB, which will then work with policy councils at the White House to ensure Biden’s priorities are adequately reflected. The goals will help guide the president's fiscal 2023 budget and his forthcoming management agenda, expected later this year. 

Once agencies issue their goals, they will track their progress toward achieving them on Performance.gov

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