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GAO commented on the proposed Productivity Improvement Act. The bill reflects the GAO belief that a strong and effective federal effort is needed to counter the nation's declining productivity growth. GAO urges favorable consideration of this bill. The current Productivity Council has been relatively inactive and has largely ignored the functions assigned to it. It has not provided guidance to federal productivity programs and has not become recognized as the governement's productivity focal point. The current national productivity effort has been ineffective because it lacked the support of the executive branch. The proposed bill, if enacted, would create a National Productivity Council that would be a significant improvement over the current Council. The new Council would have the added authority and stability of being a statutory body rather than an orgranization establishment by executive order. Agencies would be assigned specific functions and responsibilities for improving productivity. The proposed Council would be headed by a high level, full-time chairperson, would be provided adequate staff, and would be required to develop a national productivity plan. An advisory board would be developed to advise the Council on appropriate actions for the federal governement to take to improve productivity. The proposed legislation will, at nominal cost, provide the United States with a needed organization to plan and coordinate federal actions related to private sector productivity. However, GAO suggested that further examination of the contracting needs of the Council is warranted.

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