OMB nominee promises 'efficient and effective' government

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Deese said that the government should focus on sharing data and technology between agencies to reduce redundancy and prioritize evidence-based assessments.

He also praised data-driven performance reviews and the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act, which requires that agencies demonstrate they are effectively using taxpayer funds to meet their missions.

"Having a framework to actually set goals and set priorities but then also use that to drive real accountability and culture change within the agencies, that's got to be our objective," he told the panel.

Just two of the committee's 16 members attended the hearing: Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

As the OMB's deputy director, Deese will be partly responsible for overseeing the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which reviews major regulations and coordinates rules across agencies.

Currently the deputy director of the White House's National Economic Council, Obama nominated Deese to the number two spot at the OMB on April 1. Deese has been a top economic advisor since the president was first elected in 2008, and played a central role in the government's intervention in the auto industry.

In announcing the nomination, President Obama called Deese "an indispensable member of my economic team."

If he is confirmed by the Senate, Deese will work under new OMB Director Sylvia Burwell, who was approved for the post in late April.