At least 26 federal entities distribute grants, often with differing administrative requirements. As a result, grantees may be diverting resources from program objectives to comply with varying administrative requirements. Congress, attempting to reduce this inefficiency, passed the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999, commonly referred to as P.L. 106-107. It required the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure that agencies streamline processes, develop common systems, and consult with grantees; it also required GAO to evaluate the law's effectiveness. In response, this report discusses aspects of grant administration that grantees identified as inadequate to meet the act's goals and on which further action was needed. GAO reviewed grantee comments on changes needed, obtained views from grantee associations and users of the Web portal called Grants.gov, performed detailed site visits at selected grantees, and obtained views of OMB.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Given that the goals in P.L. 106-107 are not likely to be met by the sunset date of November 2007, Congress may wish to consider reauthorizing the law to make certain that federal agencies have clear requirements to continue these efforts and the momentum for progress in streamlining grant administration continues. As part of the reauthorization process, Congress may wish to consider ensuring that agencies and cross-agency teams are setting goals and making progress toward P.L. 106-107's objectives.||As of March 2008, Congress has not taken legislative action to extend the law, and its sunset date of November 2007 has passed. However, the Grants Policy Committee will continue to implement the grant streamlining initiatives. It has developed a strategic plan and is now developing an implementation plan that will contain specifics, including time frames. According to the Chairman of the Grants Policy Committee, this plan will be used to inform the grant community that although PL 106-107 has expired, the initiative of grant streamlining will continue. He noted that the decision to continue with an implementation plan was made with the approval of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management.|