Bipartisan Bill Would Strengthen Federal Financial Management

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) this week introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen federal financial management by updating the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990. The CFO Act created a new foundation for federal financial management and established a fiscal management reporting and leadership structure.

The legislation, S. 3287, is cosponsored by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), David Perdue (R-GA), and James Lankford (R-OK). The measure has been endorsed by the Data Coalition, Citizens Against Government Waste, National Taxpayers Union, the Project on Government Oversight, the R Street Institute, Truth in Accounting, and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

“While financial reporting at the agency-level has improved, the federal government is still unable to get a clean opinion on it financial statements. Often times, the federal government cannot show the relationship between dollars spent and results achieved,” said Chairman Enzi. “This legislation will lead to better financial and performance data and increase accountability in government programs and operations. This will help improve government-wide financial management and ensure taxpayer dollars are safeguarded.”

“The Chief Financial Officers Act was hugely instrumental in promoting financial management at the federal level, and laid the groundwork for a lot of the improvement we’ve seen in the 30 years since. At this milestone though, it’s about time we address where we’re still falling short,” said Senator Warner. “This legislation will help boost financial accountability in our government by promoting consistency across agencies, making it easier for them to carry out long-term initiatives and planning, and empowering them to make more informed and strategic policy decisions through the use of performance data. It’s my hope that this legislation will help modernize our financial management structures, and renew Americans’ trust that their government is making smart, informed decisions about how we use taxpayer dollars.” 

 “It’s been three decades since the federal government’s financial management systems we use today were created,” said Senator Grassley.  “All too often, problems in government can be attributed to complex or outdated systems. This legislation will help modernize how government departments and agencies manage and monitor taxpayer funds and will enhance standards, streamline reporting and improve performance.” 

“This legislation updates the responsibilities of CFOs in agencies across the government,” said Senator Johnson.  “These long-overdue reforms will hopefully help agencies become more effective and efficient in an increasingly complex world.”

The bill would:

  • Standardize CFO responsibilities across government and enhance strategic decision-making;
  • Provide deputy CFOs with appropriate authority to ensure continuity in agency financial management operations when CFO vacancies occur;
  • Revise and update government-wide and agency-level financial management planning requirements to make sure they are reasonable and allow Congress to track agencies’ adherence to cost and date targets. Additionally, the bill would require the government-wide plan to include actions for improving financial management systems, strengthening the federal financial management workforce, and better linking performance and cost information to budget decision-making;
  • Require the development of financial management performance-based metrics to determine the status and progress agencies are making towards achieving cost-effective and efficient government operations.  The bill would also require this information to be included in the government-wide and agency-level financial management plans and status reports; and
  • Strengthen internal controls by requiring agency management to identify key financial management information needed for effective financial management and decision making, and to annually assess and report on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting and other key financial management information.

# # #