Jul 22 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today approved Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Senator Mark R. Warner’s legislation (D-VA) to strengthen federal financial management. The bill would update the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990, which created a new foundation for federal financial management. The law established a financial management leadership structure, provided for long-range planning, and required audited financial statements.
The legislation, S. 3287, is cosponsored by Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), James Lankford (R-OK), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), David Perdue (R-GA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Mike Braun (R-IN). The Data Coalition, Citizens Against Government Waste, the Project on Government Oversight, National Taxpayers Union, Truth in Accounting, R Street Institute, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Americans for Prosperity, Government Accountability Project and Grant Thornton, among others, have endorsed the legislation.
“The Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act was hugely instrumental in promoting financial management at the federal level, and laid the groundwork for a lot of the improvement we’ve seen in the 30 years since it was signed into law,” said Senator Warner. “With today’s Committee passage of this commonsense bipartisan proposal, we are one step closer to enacting much-needed reforms to the financial oversight established in the original CFO Act. This legislation will help boost financial accountability in our government by promoting consistency across agencies, making it easier for them to carry out long-term initiatives and planning, and empowering them to make more informed and strategic policy decisions through the use of performance data. Now that this bill passed an important hurdle, we are almost to the finish line in taking action to help modernize our financial management structures, and renew Americans’ trust that their government is making smart, informed decisions about how we use taxpayer dollars.”
“The CFO Vision Act will lead to better financial and performance data and increase accountability in government programs and operations,” said Chairman Enzi. “It will also help ensure our financial information is complete, reliable, timely and consistent and allow Congress to make informed decisions about the financing, management, and evaluation of federal agencies and programs.”
The bill would:
- Standardize CFO responsibilities across government by helping to enhance strategic decision-making, and correct inconsistencies;
- Provide deputy CFOs with sufficient authority to ensure continuity in agency financial management operations when CFO vacancies occur;
- Revise government-wide and agency-level financial management planning requirements by requiring OMB to update the government’s financial plan every four years and provide annual status updates. Additionally, the bill would require the government-wide plan to include actions for improving financial management systems, strengthening the federal financial management workforce, and better linking performance and cost information for decision-making;
- Develop a broader set of key selected financial management performance-based metrics by requiring OMB to develop a plan to determine the status and progress agencies are making towards achieving cost-effective and efficient government operations. The bill would also require that information be included in the government-wide and agency-level financial management plans and status reports; and
- Strengthen internal controls by requiring agency management to identify key financial management information needed for effective financial management and decision making. The bill would also require agencies to annually assess and report on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting and other key financial management information.
# # #
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, members of the Senate Budget Committee, released the following statements on President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2021(FY21) budget:
“Simply put, the President’s budget fails Virginia. With the deficit at record highs thanks to the President’s massive tax cuts for big business and the wealthiest Americans, this proposal attempts to balance the budget at the expense of hardworking Virginians and investments in our local economy. It completely eliminates funding for the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay – an ecological treasure and important economic engine that supports thousands of jobs. It repays our federal workers for their years of service with deep cuts to their retirement benefits. And instead of investing in our coal communities, the Trump budget would eliminate the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation program that helps communities in Southwest Virginia invest in clean-up and economic revitalization efforts,” said Warner.
“This budget is yet another alarming example of the President’s attempts to leave the most vulnerable Americans behind. It slashes Medicaid, which 1.2 million Virginians rely on for their health care. It cuts food stamp benefits, which keep 695,000 Virginians from going hungry. And it guts other critical programs like community development block grants and home heating assistance. As we have done successfully in years past, we are going to fight on the Budget Committee to reject these harmful cuts and pass a budget that better reflects the needs of all Virginians,” said Kaine.
Below is a list of some of the impacts President Trump’s budget would have on Virginians:
Medicaid: The budget proposes cutting Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade. The budget would give states the ability to pursue damaging work requirements, more stringent eligibility criteria, increased co-payments, and more.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): The budget would restrict access to SNAP, a safety net to prevent the most vulnerable Americans—particularly seniors and children—from going hungry.
Chesapeake Bay: The budget proposes to decimate the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program. These cuts would threaten key federal assistance that helps localities, farmers, and others take steps to reduce the pollution flowing into the Bay.
National Institutes of Health (NIH): The budget proposes $38 billion for NIH, a nearly $4 billion cut from FY20. Millions of Americans rely on NIH research to inform our understanding and development of new and innovative treatments for serious illnesses like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
After School Programs: The budget would eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding for afterschool programs, which would affect 20,504 children in Virginia.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): The budget would eliminate the PSLF program, denying Virginia’s hardworking public servants—such as teachers, nurses, and first responders, and other public service professionals—the loan forgiveness they earned.
Airports: The budget would eliminate Airport Improvement Program Discretionary grants. In FY19, these grants provided more than $64.8 million for airport improvements across the Commonwealth at both large and small airports.
Port of Virginia: The budget would eliminate the Port Infrastructure Development program. Previously funded at $225 million, funds from this program support critical infrastructure improvements at the Port of Virginia.
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields: The budget would eliminate the Heritage Partnership Program, funding to support the maintenance of Shenandoah Valley Battlefields.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): The budget proposes to eliminate LIHEAP, which was previously funded at $8.7 billion. This vital safety net program helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills in localities across the Commonwealth.
Abandoned Mines: The budget would eliminate Abandoned Mine Land Grants, which provided $115 million in discretionary funds last year to help places like Southwest Virginia reclaim and repurpose abandoned coal lands.
Virginia Tribes: The budget would reduce housing block grants to tribes by more than one quarter. Virginia tribes rely on these funds to develop low-income housing.
Affordable Housing: The budget would eliminate the Choice Neighborhoods, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and HOME Investment Partnerships programs—programs that support the building and rehabilitation of affordable housing. In 2019, Virginia cities and counties received $57 million in CDBG grants and $25 million in HOME grants. In 2018, Newport News and Norfolk received $60 million in Choice Neighborhoods grants to build affordable housing in the Marshall-Ridley neighborhood and St. Paul’s area, respectively.
Economic Development Administration (EDA): The budget would eliminate the EDA. Virginia was awarded 12 EDA grants for $4 million in 2018, including funding to help the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) build an apprenticeship academy and prepare young Virginians for jobs in a growing industry.
Federal Employees: The budget would make federal employees’ health and retirement benefits more expensive for workers.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today following the Senate passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, a two-year bipartisan budget deal that would suspend the debt ceiling until July 2021:
“Today I voted to preserve the full faith and credit of the United States and steer us away from another harmful government shutdown in the fall. By suspending the debt ceiling for two years, the bipartisan budget agreement guarantees that the United States will continue to pay our bills, while also preventing harmful sequester cuts that would hurt our military and jeopardize important programs that serve our veterans, prepare our children for the future, and rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges.
“Even with this deal, overall spending on education, research and development, homeland security, and other important investments will still be near historic lows as a percent of the economy. Our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges are real, but they are primarily due to declining tax revenue and a failure to reform our mandatory spending programs. It is disappointing that congressional and White House negotiators chose to pay for only a fraction of this deal, with fee increases and cuts to spending, when there are more sustainable and equitable ways we could have paid for this must-pass legislation. We should be asking large corporations and the wealthiest among us to contribute more—not putting $2 trillion in tax breaks that disproportionately benefit them on the nation’s credit cards. I continue to believe that we must do more to strengthen our nation’s balance sheet, so it is strong enough to sustain continued economic growth for the long term, and I urge my colleagues from both parties to more seriously address our financial challenges in the future.”
The legislation, which passed the House of Representatives on July 25 by a vote of 284 – 149, now heads to the President’s desk for approval.
Bipartisan Group of Senators Push White House Budget Office to Publish Comprehensive List of Federal Programs
Jul 17 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan group of senators, led by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Senator James Lankford (R-OK), is calling on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to make a list of all federal programs publicly available on a central government-wide website in order to identify and eliminate program waste and duplication. In addition to Senators Enzi and Lankford, the group included Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), David Perdue (R-GA), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
Providing a comprehensive list of these federal programs “is critical to helping Congress make informed budgetary decisions and ensuring that we are able to identify – and take appropriate steps to eliminate – duplication, fragmentation, and overlap in federal programs,” wrote the senators. This list “is a key component of ongoing efforts to improve the federal budgeting process, including by better incorporating performance metrics into budget decision-making.”
The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 requires OMB to issue guidance to agencies for implementing the inventory requirement and identifying information about each program for publication. An initial program inventory published by OMB in May 2013 had 1,524 programs, but in October 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the 2013 effort had fallen short. GAO made a number of recommendations to OMB to update relevant guidance, develop a more coherent picture of all federal programs, and better ensure information is useful for decision-makers. These recommendations remain open.
The senators specifically want to know OMB’s strategy and timeline for the program inventory. They also are requesting information about the process OMB is using in its approach to developing a federal program inventory.
Read the full letter here.
# # #