Skip to content

Senators Ernst, Heitkamp Introduce Legislation to Safeguard Tax Dollars by Streamlining Federal Government Processes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced the bipartisan Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015, legislation to streamline federal government projects which in turn would help eliminate wasting resources and would protect and safeguard taxpayer dollars. This bill would hold the federal government accountable to adopt the program management standards, practices and procedures of high-performing, private sector organizations. 

A recent GAO report revealed many federal government projects are grossly over budget, delayed or fail to meet their projected goals. It is not just one department that struggles with program/project management – these failures and issues plague multiple federal agencies.

Reports have found that without proper program management in place, agencies can waste up to billions of dollars to fix a problem that could have otherwise been identified from the onset if program management best practices were used.

By utilizing the best practices of the private sector, this legislation provides the framework for effective and efficient management of federal government programs. It identifies the personnel to be held responsible, increases accountability to certify management competencies, and places the necessary focus on processes that are critical to effectively delivering major projects and programs. This legislation leaves current organizational structures in place and gives agencies the flexibility they need to fix this problem. 

“Iowans expect a government that functions properly and efficiently while also serving as a good steward of taxpayer dollars," said Senator Ernst. "The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act streamlines efforts and outlines strategies to correct widespread deficiencies, lax oversight and unnecessary cost incurred by preventable delays in meeting stated program goals and deadlines. These much needed reforms ensure that taxpayer dollars are safeguarded by increasing accountability throughout the federal government.”

“We can work to instill North Dakota-common sense on the federal level, where our dedicated employees are working to better this country,” said Senator Heitkamp. “This spring, I launched my Cut Red Tape Initiative to help make federal programs more successful by reducing confusing and unnecessary federal regulations that can inhibit the good work they do to keep our communities safe and businesses strong. Today I’m proud to work with Senator Ernst on a bipartisan bill that builds on this initiative by promoting more responsibility and oversight among our federal managers, helping them improve their programs, reducing government waste, and making the  government work better.”

This legislation is the Senate companion bill to the bipartisan H.R. 2144, introduced by Congressmen Todd Young (R-IN) and Gerald Connolly (D-VA). 


About the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act:

  • Requires the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to: 
    • Adopt and oversee government-wide standards, policies, and guidelines for program and project management executive agencies.
    • Issue regulations and establish standards and policies for executive agencies in accordance with nationally accredited standards for program and project management planning and delivery issues.
    • Conduct portfolio reviews of high-risk programs, agency programs.
    • Develop a five-year strategic plan for program and project management, to be submitted to Congress and the OMB by the head of each agency.
  • Establishes:
    • Program Management Improvement Officers (senior executives from each executive agency), to implement program management policies and develop a written strategy for enhancing the role of program managers within each respective agency.
    • A Program Management Policy Council within the OMB to exist as a primary forum to improve agency practices related to program and project management, review high risk programs at the GAO, and advise and assist the Deputy Director of the OMB.
  • Requires the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in consultation with the OMB to issue regulations that:
    • Identify key skills and competencies needed for a program and project manager within an agency.
    • Establish new job series for program and project management within an agency.