Performance Management and Budgeting in the Federal Government: Brief History and Recent Developments
CRS Report for Congress
Performance Management and Budgeting
in the Federal Government:
Brief History and Recent Developments
Updated March 16, 2005
Virginia A. McMurtry
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Performance Management and Budgeting
in the Federal Government:
Brief History and Recent Developments
The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-62), known
as GPRA or the Results Act, sought to promote greater efficiency, effectiveness, and
accountability in federal spending by establishing a new framework for performance
management and budgeting in federal agencies. GPRA represents the latest in a
series of initiatives in the last 55 years attempting to link budget levels with expected
results, so that spending decisions can be better aligned with anticipated performance,
an approach commonly referred to as “performance budgeting.”
On April 9, 2001, President Bush transmitted his budget for FY2002, in which
various steps to strengthen the linking of budget and management decisions to
performance were endorsed. This was followed in August by the “President’s
Management Agenda” for improving performance; one of five government-wide
initiatives identified was budget and performance integration. On February 4, 2002,
President Bush transmitted his budget for FY2003, which introduced a Management
Scorecard, to measure agency progress on the initiatives. The FY2003 budget also
contained initial efforts at performance analysis of over 100 programs that were used
to inform funding decisions, constituting the first time a President’s budget
submission attempted formally to link budget requests with program performance.
A new program assessment rating tool (PART) was developed in 2002, and used
by agency program managers and OMB staff to evaluate over 200 programs during
the course of formulating the FY2004 budget. The PART reviews have continued
and expanded, covering 40% of programs in the FY2005 budget and 60% of
programs in the President’s FY2006 budget submission.
In Congress, interest continues in monitoring the PART process, as well as in
the Administration’s budget and performance integration initiative and ongoing
implementation of GPRA. In the 108th Congress, H.R. 3826, to provide a statutory
mandate for PART-like reviews, was reported favorably by the Government Reform
Committee, and a similar measure, H.R. 185, has been approved by the committeeth
in the 109 Congress. The extent to which performance information will influence
budget deliberations in Congress remains to be seen. Adopting performance
budgeting will not remove controversy from the budget process, since budgeting
entails the allocation of limited resources among competing priorities. Performance
information may make a positive contribution to the federal budget debate, but a
performance budget will not eliminate the need for difficult political choices.
The appendix gives important benchmarks in the evolution of performance
management and budgeting in the federal government. This report will be updated
as events warrant.
In troduction ..................................................1
Past Attempts ................................................1
Experiences with GPRA During the Clinton Administration............2
Bush Administration Activity and the 107th Congress .................4thth
Developments in the 108 and 109 Congresses......................6
Appendix A. Some Benchmarks in the Evolution of Performance Management
and Budgeting in the Federal Government.........................13
Performance Management and Budgeting
in the Federal Government:
Brief History and Recent Developments
The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-62; 107 Stat.
effectiveness, and accountability in federal spending by establishing a new
framework for performance management and budgeting in federal agencies. GPRA
establishes three types of ongoing planning, evaluation, and reporting requirements
for executive branch agencies: strategic plans (covering six years but to be revised
at least every three years), annual performance plans, and annual reports on program
performance. In complying with GPRA, agencies must set goals, devise performance1
measures, and then assess results achieved.
GPRA represents the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken during the past
50 years, attempting to link budget levels with expected results, so that spending
decisions can be better aligned with anticipated performance. This general
perspective is commonly referred to as “performance budgeting,” and is intended to2
be viewed as an evolving, rather than a static, approach. A recent definitional effort
suggests: “A performance budget is an integrated annual performance plan and
annual budget that shows the relationship between program funding levels and
expected results. It indicates that a goal or set of goals should be achieved at a given3
level of spending.”
In the aftermath of World War II, the First Hoover Commission, charged with
promoting economy, efficiency, and improved services in the executive branch,
included among its many recommendations a call for performance budgeting in the
1 For further background, see CRS Report RS20257, Government Performance and Results
Act: Brief History and Implementation Activities, by Genevieve Knezo.
2 This conception of performance budgeting is further discussed in a General Accounting
Office report on the subject; the brief review here of past efforts relies heavily on that
source. See U.S. General Accounting Office, Performance Budgeting: Past Initiatives Offer
Insights for GPRA Implementation, GAO Report AIMD-97-46 (Washington: GPO, 1997).
3 John Mercer, Performance Based Budgeting for Federal Agencies (Fairfax: AMS, 2002),
p. 2. Available at [http://www.john-mercer.com/library/Performance_Budgeting_FA.pdf],
visited Dec. 2, 2003.
federal government.4 In the 1960s, the Planning-Programming-Budgeting-System
(PPBS) was introduced in the Defense Department, and subsequently mandated
government-wide by President Johnson. PPBS attempted to integrate planning and
budgeting functions through modern systems analysis and cost-benefit analysis to
review alternatives, costs, and consequences. In 1973, President Nixon initiated
Management by Objectives, primarily a management improvement effort seeking to
hold agency managers responsible for achieving stipulated outcomes, and linking the
agreed-upon objectives to the agency’s budget request. Still another reform effort
followed in 1977, when President Carter brought Zero Base Budgeting (ZBB) to the
federal government. With ZBB, agencies were to prepare a series of decision
packages to reflect alternative funding levels; the intent was to link directly the
expected program results with the level of spending.
Experiences with GPRA During the
Successful implementation of GPRA requires direct linkages between an
agency’s goals and objectives and its budget justification. In its annual performance
plan, each agency is to align performance objectives with the program activity
structure contained in the President’s budget. The law also called for performance
budgeting pilots to provide information on the “direct relationship between proposed
program spending and expected program results and the anticipated effects of varying
spending levels on results.” In August 1999 (two years behind the original GPRA5
schedule), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) formally designated five
projects to serve as performance budgeting pilots.6
Shortly before the end of the Clinton Administration in January 2001, then
OMB Director Jacob Lew transmitted a GPRA-required report to Congress, which
sought to examine government-wide implementation of GPRA from 1997-2000, to
report on the results of the performance budgeting pilots, and to address the need for
any statutory changes in the law. The report concluded, “Over time measures will
improve, and better information will become available. However, these
improvements do not require or depend on statutory changes.... (T)herefore OMB
would not recommend legislative changes.” Some examples of difficulties
encountered in the pilots and identified by OMB in the January 2001 report included
4 Formally known as the Commission on the Organization of the Executive Branch, the
commission was established in 1947 (61 Stat. 246).
5 In May 1997, OMB announced a delay in the start of the performance budgeting pilots, so
as to allow agencies to concentrate on the more immediate task of developing their
6 The projects and agencies represented included military recruitment programs (Department
of Defense), Food and Drug Administration (Health and Human Services), severely
distressed housing programs (Housing and Urban Development), diplomatic security
programs (State), and continuing disability reviews (Social Security Administration).
Budgeting is often based on the structure of funding requests to the
appropriations committees, and the structure does not always correspond to
In many instances, measuring the effects of marginal, annual budget changes on
performance is not precise or meaningful.
As a general matter, we are working to move from our almost total reliance on
output measures to outcomes. However, it is much more difficult to associate
specific resource levels with outcomes, particularly over short periods of time.
The ability to establish clear linkages between program outcomes and funding
levels varies depending on the nature of the program and the number of relevant
Delays in collecting data on programs, sometimes because of necessary reliance
on program partners for data collection, present a challenge to synchronization7
of budget and performance data.
Despite such difficulties, and the continuing need for improvements in
performance measurement, it is well to keep in mind that GPRA differs in important
respects from past efforts at performance management and budgeting. Previous
formulations, such as PPBS and ZBB, were executive branch initiatives; in contrast,
GPRA has a statutory base, with its requirements set in law. Unlike past efforts
which generally lacked congressional linkages, GPRA provides for mandatory
consultation with Congress and the linking of management planning and budget
Evidence of growing congressional involvement with GPRA during the Clinton
Administration was suggested by a CRS study8 which identified and analyzed
provisions in public laws and committee reports from the 106th Congress (1999-
2000) relating to GPRA and its implementation; comparisons to similar provisions
in the 104th and 105th Congresses were also noted.9 The research identified 42 public
laws from the 106th Congress containing statutory language relating to GPRA and
performance measurement. Two of these laws were omnibus measures containing
GPRA-associated provisions from 10 separate bills, arguably better counted as 10
items rather than two, for a total of 50 enacted measures from the 106th Congress
7 Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, Report to the
Honorable J. Dennis Hastert, from Jacob J. Lew, Jan. 18, 2001, np.
8 See CRS Report RL31678, Government Performance and Results Act: Overview of
Associated Provisions in the 106th Congress, by Virginia A. McMurtry.
9 Online databases were used to identify language of potential interest in committee reports
and in the public laws from the 106th Congress. The resulting electronic files were examined
and then pruned, with the remaining relevant excerpts captured for further analysis. It
should be noted that this approach covered specific citations to GPRA, as well as provisions
that are or might be deemed associated with GPRA, such as performance measures and
strategic plans. The study sought to review ways in which Congress and its committees
engage in oversight of GPRA, and, more generally, monitor its implementation in respective
with GPRA-related provisions. Previous CRS studies identified 14 public laws with
performance-related provisions enacted during the 104th Congress, and 28 in the
105th. In addition to statutes with GPRA-associated provisions, a search of
committee reports identified 24 additional public laws from the 106th Congress that
contained GPRA-associated passages in accompanying reports, compared with 17
laws so identified in the 105th. Thus a total of 74 laws enacted in the 106th Congress
were determined to have GPRA-relevant provisions in statutory language or in
committee report language, compared with a total of 45 public laws from the 105th
Congress with GPRA-relevant provisions in statute or accompanying reports.10
Bush Administration Activity and the 107th Congress
On April 9, 2001, President Bush transmitted his budget for FY2002, in which
various steps to strengthen the linking of budget and management decisions to
performance were endorsed.11 On July 11, 2001, a presidential memorandum
established the President’s Management Council (PMC), consisting of Chief
Operating Officers as designated by the heads of cabinet departments and major
agencies.12 This was followed in August by the “President’s Management Agenda”
for improving performance; one of five government-wide initiatives identified was
budget and performance integration.13 On November 1, 2001, two proposals for
management reform, previously developed by OMB, were introduced in the 107th
Congress as S. 1612, Managerial Flexibility Act, and S. 1613, Freedom to Manage
Act.14 Title II of S. 1612, “Budgeting and Managing for Results,” reflected the
performance-oriented perspective of GPRA by seeking to link total cost of resources
used with results. Specifically, it sought to charge to the budgets of each federal
agency the full accruing costs for retirement systems and retiree health benefits,
without, however, making any changes in benefits provided or employee
contributions. On March 19, 2002, a hearing was held on S. 1612.
On February 4, 2002, President Bush transmitted his Budget for FY2003, which
sought to incorporate the five management reforms (including budget and
performance integration) into agencies’ budgets and introduced a Management
10 CRS Report RL31678.
11 For example: “Formally integrate performance with budget decisions”; “Develop
legislation to enable program managers to be charged for support services, capital assets,
and employer benefits”; and “Publish detailed performance data.” See Budget of the United
States Government, Fiscal Year 2002 (Washington: GPO, 2001), pp. 12-13.
12 U.S. President (G.W. Bush), Memorandum on Implementing Government Reform, July
13 See OMB, “The President’s Management Agenda,” Aug. 2001, available electronically
at [http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budintegration/pma_index.html], site visited Dec. 2,
14 See OMB News Release 2001-47, available electronically at [http://www.whitehouse.gov/
omb/pubpress/2001-47.html], site visited Dec. 2, 2003; and Senator Fred Thompson,
remarks in the Senate, Congressional Record, daily edition, vol. 147, Nov. 1, 2001, pp.
Scorecard to measure progress.15 Initial efforts at performance analysis of over 100
programs were used to inform funding decisions, constituting the first time a
President’s budget submission attempted formally to link budget requests with
program performance. A memorandum from OMB Director Mitchell Daniels, Jr.,
concerning planning for the FY2004 budget requests followed on April 24, 2002,
announcing that the Administration’s efforts to base budget decisions on program
performance would be expanded, with effectiveness ratings for about one fifth of all
programs to be published in the next budget.16 The final version of the new program
assessment rating tool, known as PART, was issued in July, 2002.17 The four
sections of the questionnaire focus on program purpose and design, strategic
planning, program management, and program results and accountability. PART was
used by agency program managers and OMB budget examiners to evaluate over 200
programs during the budget review process for the President’s FY2004 budget in the
fall of 2002.18
Congressional efforts to oversee GPRA implementation in executive branch
agencies continued in the 107th Congress. In January 2001, the House approved
changes in its standing rules to require that committee reports authorizing new
funding include a statement of general performance goals and objectives, including
outcome-related goals and objectives.19 On June 19, 2001, the House Government
Reform Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and
Intergovernmental Relations held a hearing focusing on “The Results Act: Has It Met
Congressional Expectations?”20 On September 19, 2002, the same subcommittee of
the House Government Reform Committee, along with the Subcommittee on
Legislative and Budget Process of the House Rules Committee, held a joint oversight
hearing on “Linking Program Funding to Performance Results.”21
15 See Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2003, Analytical Perspectives
(Washington: GPO, 2002), pp. 3-16, re. “Budget and Performance Integration,” and pp. 411-
16 See OMB, “Planning for the President’s Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Request,” Memorandum
for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies from Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., M-02-06,
April 24, 2002.
17 See OMB, “Program Performance Assessments for the FY 2004 Budget,” Memorandum
for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies from Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., M-02-10,
July 16, 2002.
18 For Additional background on PART, see CRS Report RL32663, The Bush
Administration’s Program Assessment Rating Tool, by Clinton T. Brass.
19 Rule X, clause 4(c)(2). See Rules of the House of Representatives, 107th Congress,
prepared by Jeff Trandahl, Clerk of the House, Jan. 3, 2001.
20 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government
Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Relations, The Results Act: Hasthst
It Met Congressional Expectations? hearing, 107 Cong., 1 sess., June 19, 2001
(Washington: GPO, 2002).
21 Testimony available at [http://www.house.gov/rules/rules_test17.htm], site visited Nov.
In a statement submitted for the record of the September hearing, Senator Fred
Thompson conveyed some thoughts on the future of GPRA, observing: “We still
have a long way to go in implementing the Results Act and in making the federal
government more results-oriented and performance-based. We are at the point after
all these years of implementing the Results Act where we need to start using
performance information to make decisions or we might as well give up on the
Act.”22 Senator Thompson then voiced some optimism regarding the future of
GPRA, noting that he was “encouraged by the President’s unprecedented interest in,
and the Office of Management and Budget’s new focus on, integrating performance
review with budget decisions.” In a similar vein, Representative Stephen Horn,
Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management,
and Intergovernmental Relations, observed in his opening statement that many
agencies “have made significant progress” in using their GPRA plans and reports to
measure their performance. However, he said, the connection between performance
results and funding decisions has been lacking, and until decision makers firmly
establish that linkage, “the Results Act will remain largely a paper exercise....
Fortunately, the current Administration is intent on establishing this link.”
Representative Deborah Pryce, Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on the
Legislative and Budget Process, likewise noted that she was encouraged by recent
efforts “to establish a more meaningful link between ...(GPRA) and the budget
process,” and concluded her opening statement “by saying that as government
performance rating tools and measures become more and more reliable, Congress
will be finally responsible for using and integrating this information into our
budgetary and fiscal decision-making.”23
Developments in the 108th and 109th Congresses
On February 3, 2003, President Bush transmitted his budget for FY2004. The
budget and performance integration initiative, strengthening the linkage between
dollars spent and results achieved, reflected two complementary approaches. First,
about half of the agency submissions progressed toward a performance budget
format, “showing programs in relation to the strategic goals they are intended to
achieve. These early performance budget justifications reveal efforts to link full cost
to program activities, and to explain how program activities work together to achieve
the agency’s goals.”24
The other approach focuses on using performance information in the making of
budget decisions. In this regard, the FY2004 budget submission contained a separate
volume presenting the PART reviews, titled Performance and Management
Assessments.25 Just over half (50.4%) of the 234 programs subject to PART
22 Sen. Fred Thompson, Linking Program Funding to Performance Results, Statement for
the Record before a joint hearing, Sept. 19, 2002. Ibid.
23 See ibid. for text of the opening statements by Rep. Horn and Rep. Pryce.
24 Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2004, Analytical Perspectives
(Washington: GPO, 2003), p. 4.
25 There was also a relevant section in the main Fiscal Year 2004 Budget of the U. S.
evaluations in calendar 2003 were rated as “results not demonstrated,” due to
inadequate performance goals or unavailability of data to provide evidence of results.
Six percent of the programs were deemed “effective”; 24% were “moderately
effective”; 14.5% were found “adequate”; and 5.1% were “ineffective.” The
presentation included a one-page discussion for each of the 234 programs subject to
a PART review, giving its overall rating, program summary, key performance
measures, and figures on program funding level for FY2002 (actual) and estimates
for FY2003 and FY2004. With regard to changes in funding levels for the entire
group of 234 programs, 60.1% showed an increase in estimated funding from
FY2003 to FY2004, 18.5% displayed a decrease; and 21.5% had no change between
the two years. While PART summarizes rather than produces information, the
assessment process may create demand for better data and performance measures.
All programs are to be reviewed with PART over a five-year period, covering the
Looking ahead to preparation of the FY2005 budget, an OMB memorandum in
April 2003 instructed agency heads to follow the format of performance budgeting,
aligning resources requested with performance measures, in preparing their
submissions.26 Newly appointed OMB Director Joshua Bolten reiterated this
expectation in his memo accompanying the revision of Circular A-11 in the summer
of 2003, noting that agencies were expected to prepare performance budgets for
FY2005, which could also be used for the annual performance plan required by
GPRA. He further instructed agency heads:
The performance budget will be integrated with other elements of the agency
budget request to OMB in September and the agency Congressional justification
in February. The performance budget will include information from the PART
assessments, where available, and all performance goals used in the assessment27
of program performance done under the PART process.
OMB staff, working with personnel in the agencies, reviewed additional
programs representing another 20% of the federal budget during preparation of the
FY2005 budget, along with reassessments of those programs reviewed the prior
year.28 The FY2005 budget, transmitted to Congress on February 2, 2004, reported
about 37% of programs unable to demonstrate results, down from 50% with that
rating the first year, and a modest increase in programs rated “effective.” For
FY2005, almost 40% of programs subject to PART fell in the “effective”(11%) or
Government volume; see “Rating the Performance of Federal Programs” (pp. 47-53).
26 See OMB, “Planning for the President’s Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Request,” Memorandum
for heads of executive departments and agencies from Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., M-03-10,
April 25, 2003.
27 See OMB, “Preparing, Submitting, and Executing the Budget,” Memorandum to heads of
executive departments and establishments, from Joshua B. Bolten, transmittal memorandum
No. 77 accompanying Circular No. A-11, July 25, 2003.
28 See OMB, “Completing the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) for the FY2005
Review Process,” Budget Procedures Memorandum No. 861, from Richard P. Emery, Jr.,
Assistant Director for Budget, May 5, 2003.
“moderately effective” (26%) categories, while about a quarter were rated
“adequate”(21%) or “ineffective” (5%).29
On February 7, 2005, President Bush submitted his budget for FY2006, with
217 additional programs having undergone PART reviews during budget preparation
in the executive branch, for a total of 607 programs reviewed to date. According to
figures in the FY2006 budget, 15% of the programs were rated effective, 26%
moderately effective, 26% adequate, 4% ineffective, and 29% with results not
demonstrated. In terms of funding changes for programs from FY2005 to the
FY2006 requests, 14% of those rated effective or moderately effective received
increased funding, while 42% in the group rated ineffective had budget cuts.
In the108th Congress, interest continued in monitoring the PART process, as
well as the Administration’s budget and performance integration initiative and
ongoing implementation of GPRA. On April 1, 2003, the House Subcommittee on
Government Efficiency and Financial Management held an oversight hearing
focusing on how Congress might facilitate improvements in the quality and use of
performance information.30 This was followed on September 18, 2003, by a hearing
before the full Government Reform Committee, assessing the effectiveness in
shifting the focus from process to results after a decade under GPRA.31 A House
Government Reform subcommittee held a hearing reviewing progress during a
decade under GPRA on March 31, 2004.32
Additional hearings were held in the second session. On February 4 and 11,
2004, the House Subcommittee on Government Efficiency and Financial
Management held oversight hearings on GPRA33 and on the President’s Management
Agenda.34 During these hearings Subcommittee Chairman Todd Platts queried
various witnesses for their views on how best to craft a statutory requirement for a
29 See Fiscal Year 2005 Budget of the United States Government Analytical Perspectives
(Washington: GPO, 2004), pp. 9-22. The CD, titled “Analytical Perspectives Fiscal Year
30 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government
Efficiency and Financial Management, Performance, Results, and Budget Decisions,thst
hearing, 108 Cong., 1 sess., April 1, 2003 (Washington: GPO, 2003).
31 U.S. Congress. House Committee on Government Reform, What Happened to GPRA?
A Retrospective Look at Government Performance and Results, hearing, 108th Cong., 1st
sess., Sept. 18, 2003 (Washington: GPO, 2003).
32 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government
Efficiency and Financial Management, 10 Years of GPRA — Results, Demonstrated, thnd
hearing, 108 Cong., 2 sess., March 31, 2004 (Washington: GPO, 2004).
33 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government
Efficiency and Financial Management, Should We Part Ways With GPRA: A Look atthnd
Performance Budgeting and Program Review, hearing, 108 Cong., 2 sess., Feb. 4, 2004
(Washington: GPO, 2004).
34 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government
Efficiency and Financial Management, The President’s Management Agenda: Are Agenciesthnd
Getting to Green? hearing, 108 Cong., 2 sess., Feb. 11, 2004 (Washington: GPO, 2004).
coordinated program-by-program evaluation framework such as PART. OMB
Deputy Director for Management, Clay Johnson III, testified that the PART review
process offers a vehicle for improving program performance, while building on the
foundation provided by the GPRA. Pledging continued attention to GPRA
implementation, Mr. Johnson noted, “Codification of the requirement to conduct
assessments of program performance would be a welcome complement to the
statutory management framework laid by GPRA.”35
Shortly thereafter, on February 25, 2004, Representative Platts, with
Representative Tom Davis, chairman of the full Government Reform Committee as
cosponsor, introduced H.R. 3826, the Program Assessment and Results Act (referred
to as PARA), to require OMB to review all government programs at least once every
five years for purposes of evaluating their performance. The bill would amend
GPRA to codify the requirement for program reviews, but did not mandate the use
of PART specifically.36
On May 19, 2004, a House subcommittee held markup on H.R. 3826, and
approved the bill, as amended, by voice vote. Full committee markup followed on
June 3, 2004, with the bill, as further amended, voted to be reported favorably. A
Senate companion bill, S. 2898, was introduced on October 5, 2004. On October 8,
2004, a written report to accompany H.R. 3826 was filed.37 No further action
occurred, but a similar measure has been introduced in the 109th Congress as H.R.
185. On March 10, 2005, the House Government Reform Committee agreed to
report H.R. 185 by vote of 19-14.
PARA, as reported to the House in the 108th Congress, would amend GPRA to
require the OMB director to review, to the maximum extent practicable, each federal
program (as defined by OMB) at least once every five years. In conducting each
assessment, OMB would coordinate with the relevant agency head to determine the
programs to be reviewed, and to evaluate the purpose, design, strategic plan,
management, and results of the program. In developing criteria for identifying
programs to be assessed each year, the director would consider the advantages of
reviewing programs with similar purposes or functions the same year. At least 90
days prior to completing the annual assessments, a listing of programs under review
and the criteria being used would be available on the OMB website, and OMB would
also “provide a mechanism” for public comment on the programs and criteria. The
assessments would be performed only by federal employees, and the results would
be transmitted to Congress along with the next budget submission of the President.
PARA would further amend GPRA to require submission of strategic plans covering
four years, to be submitted by September 30 following a year when there is a
35 Should We Part Ways With GPRA: A Look at Performance Budgeting and Program
Review, p. 12.
36 For further discussion and analysis of this measure, see CRS Report RL32671, Federal
Program Performance Review: Some Recent Developments, by Virginia A. McMurtry.
37 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Reform, Program Assessment and
Results Act, report together with minority views to accompany H.R. 3826, 108th Cong., 2nd
sess., H.Rept. 108-768 (Washington: GPO, 2004).
Additional legislation relating to performance budgeting was introduced in the
contained relevant provisions in Title III, “Budgeting and Managing for Results: Full
Funding for Federal Retiree Costs,” suggesting language reminiscent of Title II of S.
1612 (107th Congress), as discussed above. These provisions sought to charge to the
budgets of each federal agency the full accruing costs for future obligations to federal
retirees. This ties in with performance budgeting, by seeking to link total cost of
resources used with results.
In a 2004 report assessing GPRA after a decade of implementation, GAO
concluded that the statutory requirements under GPRA “have established a solid
foundation of results-oriented performance planning, measurement, and reporting in
the federal government.”38 In addition, GAO said GPRA had “also begun to
facilitate the linking of resources to results,” although significant implementation
challenges remained. GAO reviewed then-current strategic plans and annual plans
and reports for six selected agencies and noted general improvements over their
initial efforts. However, GAO indicated that the evaluation component continued to
be a major weakness in agency strategic plans. While the subject was generally
addressed, GAO said that the strategic plans lacked critical information required by
GPRA, “such as a discussion of how evaluations were used to establish strategic
goals or a schedule of future evaluations.”39
As noted already, a bill to provide a statutory mandate for PART-like reviews
was reported by a House committee in the 108th Congress, and a similar measure,
H.R. 185 in the 109th Congress, has been approved by the Government Reform
Committee. Supporters of PARA assert that the bill would build on the GPRA
framework and is necessary to ensure the continuation of systematic program
assessments in the future. Some criticism has been voiced, however, that PART as
currently formulated is not well integrated with GPRA.40
Despite the emphasis placed on performance and budget integration as a
component of the President’s Management Agenda, along with the pre-existing
framework of GPRA, tensions may remain between the traditional and reform
approaches to federal budgeting. The traditional perspective of incrementalism,
whereby budgetary decisions about funding levels and program priorities are
typically driven by shifting political concerns and objectives, with marginal
adjustments to the prior year’s funding level, arguably is contrary to the more
38 U.S. General Accounting Office, Results-Oriented Government: GPRA Has Established
a Solid Foundation for Achieving Greater Results, GAO Report GAO-04-38 (Washington:
GAO, Mar. 2004), “Highlights.”
39 Ibid., p. 52.
40 The House report accompanying H.R. 3826 put forth the supporters’ position, while the
minority views reflected the criticism. See H.Rept. 108-768.
“rationalist reform”41 orientation of performance budgeting, in which budgetary
decisions are to be guided by assessment of performance measurement data and
evaluation of program results.
The stipulations of OMB Circular A-11 first required agencies to prepare
performance budgets for FY2005. Under OMB’s guidance, the PART reviews, as
well as information from other program performance measures, increasingly are
factored into budget decisions in the executive branch. The adoption of performance
budgeting, however, will not remove controversy from the budget process, since
budgeting entails the allocation of limited resources among competing priorities.
Performance information may make a positive contribution to the federal budget
debate, but a performance budget will not eliminate the need for difficult political
The extent to which performance information influences budget deliberations
in Congress remains to be seen. Anecdotal evidence suggested that as of mid-2003,
at least some senior Appropriations Committee staff were unfamiliar with the PART
reviews.42 In November 2003 OMB official Robert Shea, designated “owner” of the
budget and performance integration initiative, acknowledged this situation, noting,
“Another major challenge facing the ... Initiative is getting Congress to use
performance information in its deliberations and as the basis for its decision-
making.” In an effort to facilitate mutual awareness between the branches, OMB
arranged a series of lunches on Capitol Hill to bring together select agency personnel,
with their authorizers and their appropriators. A major intent of these sessions,
according to Mr. Shea, was for agency officials to “gain a better understanding of the
needs of Congressional staff, especially the need for information about the
performance of programs Congress funds and authorizes and the form such
information should take.”43
Nearly a year later, in an update on the initiative, Mr. Shea reiterated that
“getting Congress to make more of its decisions based on performance generally, and
the PART specifically,” remains a priority for the Bush Administration. For
Congress to pay more attention to performance, he further advises,
Congress and their staffs must be consulted on agency use of performance
information in the budget requests and legislative proposals. Before you [agency
41 For further discussion of rationalist reform as compared with incrementalism, see Carol
W. Lewis, “The Field of Public Budgeting and Financial Management, 1789-1995,” in
Handbook of Public Administration: Second Edition, Jack Rabin, et al. eds. (New York:
Marcel Dekker, 1998), pp. 177-178.
42 Amelia Gruber, “OMB Ratings Have Little Impact on Hill Budget Decisions,”
GovExec.com daily briefing, June 13, 2003. In the article, a senior staff assistant with the
House Appropriations Committee is quoted as saying at a forum that “he has never used
OMB’s formal program evaluations” and that he has rarely heard fellow staffers discuss
43 President’s Management Agenda, update on the five initiatives, “Budget and Performance
Integration,” by Robert Shea, Nov. 14, 2003. Available at [http://www.results.gov/agenda/
budgetperformance11-03.html], visited Nov. 25, 2003.
officials] send reams of performance information to unsuspecting Congressional
officials, make sure that they are aware of what you are doing and the benefit it44
can be to them. (emphasis in original)
Such guidance to the agencies from OMB arguably may lead to increased
congressional awareness of the potential utility of performance information in budget
44 President’s Management Agenda, update on the five initiatives, “What We Need to do to
Make Performance Improvements Stick,” by Robert Shea, Oct. 25, 2004. Available at
[http://www.whitehouse.gov/results/agenda/budgetperformance20041022.html], visited Dec.
Appendix A. Some Benchmarks in the Evolution of
Performance Management and Budgeting
in the Federal Government
1949Report of the Commission on Organization of the Executive
The first Hoover Commission included among its many
recommendations a call for performance budgeting in the federal
PPBS adopted in the Department of Defense.
1965BoB (Bureau of Budget’s) Bulletin No. 66-3, Re. PPBS
Administrative directive called for adoption of PPBS throughout the
Executive Branch; requirements were formally voided in 1971.
1977OMB Bulletin No. 77-9, Regarding Zero Base Budgeting
In 1977, Zero Base Budgeting (ZBB) commenced via administrative
directive; it was officially terminated in 1981.
1993Enactment of the Government Performance and Results Act
GPRA was signed into law on August 3, 1993.
1993Start of Pilot Projects for Performance Measurement
GPRA required the OMB Director to designate at least 10 agencies
to provide pilot projects in preparing performance plans and reports
(covering FY1994, FY1995, and FY1996). The selection process
began in October 1993, and by mid-1995 over 70 pilot projects were
ongoing in 27 agencies.
1994Managerial Flexibility Pilots to Start
GPRA provided for another group of pilots to commence by October
1994, entailing waivers of certain procedural requirements and
controls by OMB in return for accountability in achieving specific
goals. At least five agencies were to be selected from among those
alrady involved in the performance plan and report pilots as
participants. However, OMB determined that desired management
changes were already occurring, so the pilots were unnecessary.
1995Pilot Projects for Performance Measurement Continued
By mid-1995, following additional changes the preceding January, by
the third round over 70 pilot projects were ongoing in 27 agencies
involving preparation of performance plans and reports.45
1995First Revision/Expansion of OMB Circular A-11, Relating to
In September 1995, OMB issued Part 2: “Preparation and
Submission of Strategic Plans,” as a component of Circular A-11,
pertaining to preparation of agency budget submissions.
45 U.S. Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, Government
Performance and Results Act: Report to the President and the Congress from the Director
of the Office of Management and Budget (Washington: May 1997), Attachment B.
1997Revision of OMB Circular A-11, Annual Performance Plans
A transmittal dated May 23, 1997 supplemented OMB’s prior
guidance to the agencies regarding GPRA, by expanding Part 2 to
cover GPRA requirements relating to preparation and submission of
annual performance plans.
1997Mandated Report from Office of Management and Budget
GPRA required that OMB report to the President and Congress on the
results of agency pilot projects for performance measurement, as well
as on the second group involving managerial accountability and
flexibility. In May 1997, OMB transmitted a report, which provided
a review of experiences with the pilots, but made no
recommendations for statutory changes in the law.46
1997Mandated Report from the General Accounting Office
GPRA required that the General Accounting Office report to
Congress on the implementation of the act, including prospects for
compliance by federal agencies beyond those participating in the pilot
projects. In June 1997, GAO reported to Congress on agency
readiness to begin full implementation.47
1997First Government-wide Round of Performance Plans Sent to
In September, agencies provided OMB with the first group of annual
performance plans, setting performance goals for FY1999.
1997First Government-wide Round of Strategic Plans Submitted to
By September 30, 1997, agencies provided OMB with the final
versions for the first round of strategic plans.
1998Submission of First Government-wide Performance Plan
In February 1998, OMB transmitted to Congress a government-wide
performance plan for the federal government, as part of the
President’s FY1999 budget.48 Agencies may provide Congress and
the public with copies of their annual performance plans after the
1999Revision of OMB Circular A-11, Annual Performance Reports
In July 1999 Part 2 of A-11 was expanded and retitled “Preparation
and Submission of Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans, and
Annual Program Performance Reports.”
1999Performance Budgeting Pilots Commence
In August 1999, OMB designated five participants to serve as
performance budgeting pilot projects. GPRA originally stipulated that
the performance budgeting pilots were to begin in 1997; however, in
May 1997, OMB announced plans to defer the start, for at least a
46 Ibid., pp. 1-19, 31.
47 U.S. General Accounting Office, The Government Performance and Results Act: 1997
Governmentwide Implementation Will Be Uneven, GAO Report GGD-91-109 (Washington:
48 See Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1999 (Washington: GPO, 1998),
pp. 21-47, 143-260.
2000First Government-wide Round of Performance Reports
GPRA set a deadline of March 31, 2000 for agencies to submit their
first annual performance reports (covering FY1999); these reports
compared actual performance with stated goals, explained why
performance goals were not met, and gave future plans to meet each
goal. For each subsequent year, agencies are to include performance
data for the year covered by the report and the three preceding years.
2000More Revisions for OMB Circular A-11
On July 19, 2000, a revised version of OMB Circular A-11 was
issued. Part 2, “Preparation and Submission of Strategic Plans,
Annual Performance Plans and Annual Performance Reports,”
reflected increasing concern with performance management and
budgeting, including an emphasis on integrating and linking the
performance plan with the budget.
2001OMB Report on Performance Budgeting Pilots
On January 18, 2001, OMB submitted a report as mandated by
GPRA, conveying the results of the performance budgeting pilot
projects; however, the report contained neither a recommendation for
extending performance budgeting government-wide, nor for any
statutory changes to GPRA.
2001Budget for FY2002 Aids Performance Management and
On April 9, 2001, President Bush transmitted the Budget for FY2002,
which endorsed a number of steps to strengthen the linking of budget
and management decisions to performance.
2001President’s Management Agenda
One government-wide initiative in the President’s agenda for
improving performance, released in August, focuses on budget and
2002Budget for FY2003 Moves Further into Performance Budgeting
On February 4, 2002, President Bush transmitted the budget for
FY2003, which reflected some initial steps toward integrating
performance measures with federal budget decisions and shifting the
focus from resources spent to results accomplished.
2002Comprehensive Revision of OMB Circular No. A-11
On June 27, 2002, a revised version of A-11 was issued, describing
specific steps that agencies must take to integrate budget and
performance, and supporting the major ongoing effort to assess the
effectiveness of all programs over the next five years. Part 6 now
covers “Preparation and Submission of Strategic Plans, Annual
Performance Plans, and Annual Performance Reports.”
2002Program Performance Assessments for the FY2004 Budget
On July 16, 2002, OMB issued the final version of the program
assessment rating tool (PART), to be used during preparation of the
FY2004 budget, with the stated intent of making ratings more
consistent, objective, credible, and transparent.
2003Budget for FY2004 Reflects Progress with Performance
On February 3, 2003, President Bush transmitted the budget for
FY2004, which moved further toward the goal of budget and
performance integration and included a separate volume devoted to
PART, and the reviews for 234 programs.
2003Revision of OMB Circular A-11 Mandates Performance Budget
On July 25, 2003, a revised version of A-11 was issued, instructing
agencies to prepare performance budgets for FY2005, integrated with
other elements of their budget requests, to OMB. Further, GPRA-
required performance plans must be incorporated into agency budget
2004FY2005 Budget Continues Performance Integration Effort
On February 2, 2004, President Bush transmitted the budget for
FY2005, containing additional PART reviews and evidencing
increased use of performance measurement data.
2005FY2006 Budget Data Expands on Performance Integration
On February 7, 2005, the President’s budget for FY2006 was
released, evidencing more PART reviews (now covering 607
programs) and ongoing attention to linking requested funding levels
in agency budgets with expected program results.