Source: Daily Nonpareil

By Tim Rohwer

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst announced Thursday she has co-introduced legislation to help eliminate wasteful spending by federal agencies.

Ernst, a Republican, along with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., authored a Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act, legislation to streamline federal government projects, which in turn would help eliminate wasting resources, thereby protecting and safeguarding taxpayer dollars.

"Both (political) parties understand we have to get federal agencies under control," Ernst said during her weekly telephone news conference.

This bill would hold the federal government accountable to adopt the program management standards, practices and procedures of high-performing, private sector organizations, Ernst said.

"I'm excited about this, and we¹ll continue to work in a bipartisan manner."

Ernst said a recent General Accounting Office report revealed that many federal government projects are over budget, delayed or fail to meet their projected goals.

"It's not just one department that struggles with program/project management," she said. "These failures and issues plague multiple federal agencies."

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

By utilizing the best practices of the private sector, this legislation is designed to provide the framework for effective and efficient management of federal government programs, she said. 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 bill leaves current organizational structures in place and gives agencies the flexibility they need to fix this problem, she said.

"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," Ernst said. "These much-needed reforms ensure that taxpayer dollars are safeguarded by increasing accountability throughout the federal government."

On another topic, Ernst hopes the House today approves trade promotion authority to President Obama.

The Senate gave its approval on May 23 letting the president submit trade agreements to Congress for an expedited, up-or-down vote without amendments.

"I continue to support this," Ernst said.

Iowa depends on trade for so many jobs, she said, citing 480,000 jobs ­- one in five in Iowa ­- are linked to trade.

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