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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Orszag Promises More Oversight and Transparency

Peter R. Orszag, the nominee to head up the Office of Management and Budget faced a second day of Senate hearings before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

While Orszag's testimony on Tuesday focused primarily on budgetary concerns, today the conversation turned to government performance, retaining and recruiting Federal workers and procurement issues.

"If I am confirmed, I would seek an OMB Version 2.0, where those two arms of the agency are better integrated and you see a more unified whole between performance and budgeting," Orszag said in his opening remarks.

While he seemed focused on managerial issues, Orszag also faced several questions from senators about the budgetary aspects of his expected job, especially regarding the management and oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and President-elect Barack Obama's proposed economic stimulus plan.

"We are thinking of special oversight and auditing processes for this," Orzsag said of oversight of the stimulus package. "We plan to create a Web site that will contain information about the contracts and include PDFs or contracts themselves and also financial information about the contracts."

Among other things, Orszag said he also favored a special oversight board composed of inspectors general and the new chief performance officer that would conduct regular meetings about problems identified by people tracking aspects of the economic recovery plan on the new Web site.

-Ed O'Keefe, WashingtonPost.com

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