Congressional Reports:

Efforts To Eliminate or Modify Reporting Requirements Need To Be Improved

AFMD-88-4: Published: Apr 19, 1988. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 1988.

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GAO reviewed the procedures that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and five executive branch agencies used to compile and present a legislative proposal for modifying or eliminating 240 congressional reporting requirements.

GAO found that: (1) as of fiscal year 1985, there were approximately 3,300 recurring reporting requirements, which cost agencies about $240 million; and (2) although OMB used agency recommendations to develop a legislative proposal to modify or eliminate 240 reporting requirements, Congress only changed or rescinded 23. GAO also found that: (1) agencies did not sufficiently communicate with Congress either before or after submitting the proposal; (2) most of the justifications presented did not adequately demonstrate the need to eliminate or modify the reporting requirements; and (3) agencies did not use existing reports management processes to ensure that the recommendations they made satisfied congressional information needs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An OMB official indicated that OMB intends to comply with this recommendation when proposing such actions in the future. The official stated that OMB had followed this recommendation and a couple of reporting bills already. He also indicated that he was not familiar with the requirements of 31 U.S.C. 720 and felt that the OMB response had closed the matter, as GSA was also taking action.

    Recommendation: To improve efforts to eliminate or modify congressional reporting requirements, the Director, OMB, should direct agency and OMB officials to discuss information needs with the appropriate congressional committees prior to formulating a legislative proposal to eliminate or modify reporting requirements, and consider these needs in developing the proposals.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An OMB official indicated that OMB intended to comply with this recommendation when proposing such actions in the future. The official stated that OMB had followed this recommendation for a couple reporting bills already. He also indicated that he was not familiar with the requirements of 31 U.S.C. 720 and felt that the OMB response had closed the matter, since GSA was also taking action.

    Recommendation: To improve efforts to eliminate or modify congressional reporting requirements, the Director, OMB, should direct agency and OMB officials to provide adequate justification for each recommended change, to assist Congress in determining whether the proposed eliminations or modifications will ensure that congressional information needs will be met in an efficient, effective, and economical manner.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) will be issuing regulations to require executive agencies to perform recurring evaluations of congressional reports. The initial regulation was expanded by GSA and rejected by OMB. GSA resubmitted a new proposal, but OMB asked GSA for an extension on its reply. No action has been taken.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should amend the Code of Federal Regulations to include congressional reporting requirements in executive agencies' recurring evaluation of reporting needs.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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