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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Congress hears debate on PART's value

"Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said June 13 that the Office of Management and Budget's Program Assessment Rating Tool is the government's most comprehensive review of federal programs available, partially because Congress does not take time to appraise the programs.

'We're lazy,' Coburn said at his subcommittee's annual hearing on PART. Coburn is chairman of a Senate subcommittee that oversees federal financial management and government information. This was his 37th hearing on this topic.

Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at OMB, expressed concern that Congress does not care about assessing programs. He said PART presents Congress with an opportunity to challenge programs and clearly define standards for success. Moreover, Congress could hold agencies accountable for meeting that success.

'It's management 101; it's accountability 101,' Johnson told the subcommittee.

PART helps to determine if a program works effectively. It finds out if a program has a clear purpose and whether it sets and meets goals. The assessment tool evaluates a program's strengths and weaknesses so agencies can then improve the programs. PART is one of several ways the president decides to request more or less funding for a program.

Nevertheless, the public and private sectors criticized the Bush administration's means of analyzing federal programs."

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