Administration

Biden reinstates accountability measures stripped by Trump

The White House on Wednesday reinstated government accountability measures that were stripped during the final days of the Trump administration.

A new memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revamps the good governance provision in the budgeting process that requires agencies to set goals and meet them in order to get funding.

“Agencies were clear, and unanimous, in their desire to have the earlier framework reinstated,” Pam Coleman, OMB’s associate director of Performance and Personnel Management, wrote in a post announcing the decision.

The Hill first reported in December that the Trump administration was mulling changes to Circular A-11, a thousand-page document federal agencies use when they compile their annual budget requests. 

The key provision targeted by the Trump administration requires agencies to justify their funding requests by demonstrating they are making progress on their goals — something experts feared could hamstring the Biden administration if not quickly reversed.

“The removal of Part 6 from Circular No. A-11 in December 2020 threatened to disrupt strategic and performance planning across Federal departments and agencies,” OMB acting Director Robert Fairweather wrote in Thursday’s memo reinstating the policy.

“These activities are critical to clearly defining the outcomes the Federal Government aims to achieve, using feedback from our customers to improve service delivery, and being transparent about agency results,” he added.

The Hill first reported last week that the Biden administration was gearing up to reverse the Trump changes.

“This is about making sure we are making solid decisions that are not just based in political rhetoric alone — that there are numbers and data behind it,” a source told The Hill. 

The Trump administration had spiked the provision on Christmas Eve, with then-OMB acting Director Russell Vought arguing the measures were being removed, in part, due to a lack of interest from the public.

“The thousands of pages of performance data generated by agencies and posted on performance.gov each year attract little interest,” Vought wrote, calling the effort one of many to “reduce the burden and expense of low-value government work [that] have been a hallmark of this administration.”

“We have consistently sought to streamline or eliminate bureaucratic processes that do not lead to impactful change or measurable efficiencies,” he added.

Tags Circular A-11 Office of Management and Budget OMB

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