NATIONAL TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP HAILS CONGRESS FOR ENFORCING RESULTS ACT

For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi
November 5, 1997/11:00 a.m. (202) 467-5300

 

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) President Thomas A. Schatz today applauded congressional leaders for their ongoing efforts to enforce the Government Performance and Results Act.

“Congress is doing an excellent job at holding government’s feet to the fire and making agencies adhere to the provisions of the Results Act,” Schatz said.  “While there have been calls for limited, smaller and more efficient government, the missing link in this exercise has been an objective evaluation of what’s working and what’s not working.  While not generating immediate excitement, the Results Act will – if properly enforced – deliver the most significant level of accountability of the use of our tax dollars in American history.”

Schatz’s comments were in reaction to a Capitol Hill news conference hosted by House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), where congressional grades of government agencies’ five-year strategic plans were released.   All but two agencies improved upon the interim grades Congress handed out after reviewing draft plans in August.  The Results Act, signed by President Clinton in 1993, required all federal agencies to submit five-year strategic plans on September 30.

Despite improvement, only five of 24 agencies earned passing grades on the 100-point scale developed by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget.  The top five were Transportation (75), Education (73), the National Science Foundation (69), the Social Security Administration (68) and NASA (67).  Conversely, the Departments of Commerce (28), Defense (28.5) and Labor (29.5) were at the bottom of the list.

“Even though most agencies increased their scores, it seems that many managers simply are not taking this process seriously,” Schatz stated.  “They weren’t asked to perform brain surgery.  All they were required to do was write a mission statement; establish strategic goals and objectives; relate general and annual performance goals; address cross-cutting functions and areas of waste, fraud and abuse; and determine if their information systems could adequately implement Results Act plans.  Private sector companies do this all the time, and it’s the very least taxpayers should expect of government agencies.”

A factor holding scores down was many agencies’ failure to link mission statements and strategic goals to their statutory authorities.  For example, the Labor Department stated that it “works to strengthen free collective bargaining,” and the Interior’s mission statement ignores several of its core functions, including resource management.

“A benefit of this process could be the enlightenment of government managers,”  said Schatz.  “They may actually learn what their agencies’ true purposes are and devise strategic plans accordingly.  No longer will simply spending money suffice.”

CCAGW is a 600,000 member lobbying organization dedicated to seeking enactment of legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and abuse in the federal government.

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