The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today approved Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi's (R-WY) and Senator Mark Warner’s (D-VA) legislation to strengthen federal financial management. The bill would update the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990, which created a new foundation for federal financial management. The law established a financial management leadership structure, provided for long-range planning, and required audited financial statements.
The legislation, S. 3287, is cosponsored by Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), James Lankford (R-OK), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), David Perdue (R-GA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Mike Braun (R-IN). The Data Coalition, Citizens Against Government Waste, the Project on Government Oversight, National Taxpayers Union, Truth in Accounting, R Street Institute, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Americans for Prosperity, Government Accountability Project and Grant Thornton, among others, have endorsed the legislation.
“The CFO Vision Act will lead to better financial and performance data and increase accountability in government programs and operations,” said Chairman Enzi. “It will also help ensure our financial information is complete, reliable, timely and consistent and allow Congress to make informed decisions about the financing, management, and evaluation of federal agencies and programs.”
“The Chief Financial Officers (CFO) 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 it was signed into law,” said Senator Warner. “With today’s Committee passage of this commonsense bipartisan proposal, we are one step closer to enacting much-needed reforms to the financial oversight established in the original CFO Act. 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. Now that this bill passed an important hurdle, we are almost to the finish line in taking action to help modernize our financial management structures, and renew Americans’ trust that their government is making smart, informed decisions about how we use taxpayer dollars.”
The bill would:
- Standardize CFO responsibilities across government by helping to enhance strategic decision-making, and correct inconsistencies;
- Provide deputy CFOs with sufficient authority to ensure continuity in agency financial management operations when CFO vacancies occur;
- Revise government-wide and agency-level financial management planning requirements by requiring OMB to update the government’s financial plan every four years and provide annual status updates. 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 for decision-making;
- Develop a broader set of key selected financial management performance-based metrics by requiring OMB to develop a plan to determine the status and progress agencies are making towards achieving cost-effective and efficient government operations. The bill would also require that information 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. The bill would also require agencies to annually assess and report on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting and other key financial management information.