Legislation would prevent billions lost to mismanagement

Bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) to prevent billions of taxpayer dollars going to waste as a result of mismanagement in the federal government unanimously passed the Senate on Thursday.

Numerous federal government projects are grossly over budget, significantly delayed or fail to meet their original purpose, a recent GAO report revealed. Many of these projects are then ended years after implementation, costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Failures in the projects are attributable to many things, including not using best practices and standards that are used widely in the private sector. Additionally, no distinct government job series accurately illustrates program management qualifications, diving the workforce responsible for delivering effective programs.

One recent study determined that the U.S. could save up to $995 billion by 2025 if it increased public sector efficiency by just one percent per year.

“This bipartisan legislation puts our federal government back on track by streamlining efforts and outlining strategies to correct widespread deficiencies, lax oversight and unnecessary cost overruns incurred by preventable delays in meeting stated program goals and deadlines,” Ernst said. “By adopting widely accepted management standards that are often used in the private sector, these commonsense reforms ensure that taxpayer dollars are safeguarded by increasing accountability throughout the federal government. I’m delighted that my colleagues in the Senate recognize the epidemic of mismanagement that’s eating away at the effectiveness of our federal government.”

Ernst’s bipartisan Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015 would establish a leader in each agency focused on program management and create an interagency Program Management council to oversee improvements by reviewing agency program portfolios and encouraging communications between agencies and program management professionals.

A specific job category with distinct qualifications for project managers would also be established by the act, which would require the federal government to adopt widely-accepted program management best practices and standards.

The legislation was introduced alongside Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) earlier this year with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) serving as a cosponsor. After unanimously passing out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in June and last week’s Senate passage, it now goes to the House for full consideration.