The Government Service Delivery Improvement Act would task OMB with coordinating governmentwide improvement of customer service.

The Government Service Delivery Improvement Act would task OMB with coordinating governmentwide improvement of customer service. Chadchai Ra-ngubpai / Getty Images

House takes a bipartisan vote to hold agencies accountable for better customer service

The measure would make improvements to an "unaccountable, antiquated and Byzantine" federal bureaucracy.

The White House would create a new position to help federal agencies focus on service delivery under a bill the House passed on Tuesday, which lawmakers in both parties hailed as a key step to improving the customer experience for American citizens. 

The Government Service Delivery Improvement Act (H.R. 5887) would create a “federal government service delivery lead” within the Office of Management and Budget to coordinate governmentwide efforts to improve the interactions of individuals, businesses and organizations with federal agencies; employees; and programs, particularly those with significant public-facing responsibilities.

Each agency would have to appoint its own senior official to oversee internal service delivery improvement efforts. The measure won unanimous support and was championed by lawmakers across the ideological spectrum. 

The bill would lead to more effective and efficient delivery of services related to Social Security, retirement benefits, Medicare health coverage, veterans’ programs, student loans and grants, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., who introduced the bill, said earlier this year when it was approved at the committee level. 

“The Government Service Delivery Improvement Act is a bipartisan solution that will directly help constituents by making the delivery of government services more efficient and reliable,” Khanna said. 

Under the bill, OMB would create metrics and collect data to measure the quality of service delivery by federal agencies. Agency officials would have to establish their own metrics and work throughout various offices and components to ensure compliance, while also collaborating with the new federal lead at OMB.

“For too long, our nation’s bloated federal bureaucracy has acted as an unaccountable, antiquated and Byzantine institution,” Rep Byron Donalds, R-Fla., who cosponsored the bill said when introducing the measure. “We must ensure that our government prioritizes the input of the American people by adopting a modernized and innovative customer-centric approach to service.” 

The measure also won backing from various nonprofit and industry groups, who said the bill would make government work better for their constituencies and the public at large. 

“America is experiencing a crisis in public trust of government,” said Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service. “One of the best ways to earn the public's trust back is through improved services from federal agencies. Whether it’s veterans who need health care, taxpayers who seek assistance from the IRS or college students who apply for financial aid, the public deserves user-friendly federal services.”

President Biden has made improving customer experience a key part of his management agenda. He issued an executive order on the topic in his first year in office and has continued to emphasize the priority in his annual budgets

The House earlier this month also approved the Information Quality Assurance Act (H.R. 7219), which would require agencies to use the “best reasonably available information and evidence” when drafting rules and regulations. OMB would have to issue guidelines instructing agencies how to identify and utilize that information, and agencies would have to publicly release all of their models, methodologies and sources that went into their decisions.  

“From my time in business I can tell you, American employers and workers cannot afford for the federal government to impose new regulations and guidance on them that are misinformed and backed by bad data,” Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., said in February after introducing the measure. 

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif, who cosponsored the measure, said the bill would build confidence in the American public that agencies were “making the most informed decisions based on the best data.” 

Both bills cleared the House Oversight and Accountability Committee in unanimous votes earlier this year and now head to the Senate for approval.