Outgoing OMB Director Lists Accomplishments and Hopes for the Future

Posted by Angie Petty on January 17, 2017

Washington, D.C.

OMB Director Shaun Donovan issued an exit memo in early January regarding the progress made by OMB over the last eight years, the work that still needs to be done, and his vision for the future.

OMB works across the federal government to assist departments in implementing the president’s priorities and commitments.  It develops the president’s budget to “ensure that the federal government makes needed investments in economic growth, opportunity, and security, while staying on a sound financial path.” Through supervision and guidance, OMB works to see that the government provides citizen services in “smarter, faster, and better ways.” OMB also oversees federal regulations to assure that they promote innovation, create jobs, and protect the health, welfare, and safety of Americans.

Progress made over the last eight years includes:

  • Lowering the federal deficit by about two-thirds as a share of the economy since 2009, even as investments in economic growth and national security were made.
  • Improving the long-term budget outlook, due to
    • A growing economy
    • Policies that ensure that the highest-income taxpayers pay a fairer share
    • Winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
    • Dramatically slower growth in health care costs, thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

In Donovan’s 36-page memo, he outlines the administration’s successful efforts to leverage innovation and technology to modernize government and improve services for the American people.  Donovan cites establishment of the U.S. Digital Service, efforts to reform IT procurement and operations, and reductions in wasteful spending for real estate, contracting, and federal IT.

Donovan states that major federal regulations issued during the first seven years of the administration resulted in approximately $250 billion in annual net benefits. The federal government also achieved an estimated $37 billion in cost savings, reduced paperwork and other benefits over five years from the retrospective review process for existing regulations.

“While much has been accomplished,” remarks Donovan, “much works remains to modernize the management and operations of the federal government and better serve the American people.”  Donovan lists several areas where he encourages the next administration and Congress to focus their attention:

  • Maturing Agencies’ IT Management Practices
  • Strengthening Cybersecurity, Including through Further IT Modernization
  • Continuing to Transform Critical Services through Technology Tools and Cultivation of Tech Talent
  • Fully Implementing a Modern Acquisition Strategy
  • Improving Data Management
  • Furthering the Use of Evidence in Making Policy Decisions

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