WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, convened a hearing with outside experts on how the federal government can more effectively provide access to critical services and benefits for people across the country. The committee examined how using customer experience strategies can help federal agencies deliver modern, effective digital services to citizens, reduce waste, and save taxpayer dollars. Lawmakers also discussed how updating federal information technology systems, gathering better data while respecting privacy and security, and coordinating government-wide priorities in a more efficient manner will rebuild trust in the federal government.
“Customer experience, has always remained a top priority in the private sector, with many leading companies working to better understand their customers, provide more effective digital services, and increase profits,” said Peters during his opening statement. “Profit incentives do not drive federal agencies, instead they are driven by their mission to effectively serve taxpayers and make government work efficiently, including by reducing waste and saving taxpayer dollars.”
Peters continued: “Rebuilding trust in our government is essential, and we can help restore the public’s confidence in the federal government by continuing to strengthen its ability to deliver critical services, whether its assistance people count on like social security checks or unemployment benefits, or scheduling appointments for critical services like VA health care.”
To watch video of Senator Peters’ opening remarks, click here. For text of Peters’ opening remarks, as prepared, click here.
To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions, click here.
During the hearing, Peters’ highlighted his bipartisan bill to require regular strategic reviews of federal agencies’ performance goals and improving the data that is publicly available regarding how agencies are achieving those goals. The witnesses also discussed how President Biden’s Executive Order, Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government, will ensure that federal agencies can efficiently and equitably meet the needs of people. This Executive Order will make it easier for people to navigate government websites, in office appointments, and contact centers to access the services they depend on. The witnesses also recommended ways the government can improve the quality of data and information on how agencies are working to meet their strategic goals so Congress and the public can hold them accountable. Finally, Peters asked the witnesses what actions lawmakers can take to rebuild trust in the government’s ability to deliver services efficiently.
The hearing builds on Peters’ efforts to ensure government is working effectively for all Americans. He recently convened a hearing to ensure pandemic emergency relief funds have been effectively used to help Americans affected by COVID-19. Peters’ bipartisan bill to save taxpayer dollars by ensuring federal property assets are disaster resilient has advanced in the Senate. As a part of the American Rescue Plan, Peters secured $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund to modernize federal government systems that deliver critical services, like unemployment insurance, to Americans. Peters’ provision to help save billions of federal taxpayer dollars by curbing erroneous payments to deceased individuals was signed into law last Congress. A law written by Peters to reduce duplicative software purchases called the MEGABYTE Act has saved taxpayers more than $450 million since 2016.