Senator Thompson Applauds Improvement in Annual Agency Reports

WASHINGTON- Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) today joined Congressman Steve Horn (R-CA), the Honorable Maurice McTigue, and Dr. Jerry Ellig to announce the results of the Mercatus Center?s annual review of federal agency annual performance reports.

“Accountability begins with federal agencies effectively telling us what they?re trying to accomplish and whether or not they?re accomplishing it,” Senator Thompson said. “Unfortunately, too few agencies achieve this ideal, although we?re getting better. Some of the reports have improved the second time around.”

The Mercatus Center graded the reports of the government?s 23 of the 24 biggest agencies, and found the best to be the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Among the worst were the reports of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Department of Health and Human Services. The Department of Agriculture report was submitted more than a month late ? too late to be included in the Mercatus review.

The Mercatus Center assessed the agency reports in three areas:

        C Does the agency report its accomplishments clearly in a way that people can understand?
        C Does the report disclose the tangible benefits the agency produced, rather than       just what activities they conducted?
        C Does the report show how the agency is looking ahead at how it can improve?

“We?re still not at the point where we can confidently allocate resources based on the information in these reports,” said Thompson. “But I can?t emphasize enough the importance of the Mercatus Center?s grades. They are keeping the heat on agencies to make their performance accessible and understandable to Congress, the President, and most importantly, the American people.”

At the press conference, Thompson described further analysis of the agency reports being conducted by the General Accounting Office on behalf of the Governmental Affairs Committee. “The Mercatus analysis does a great job of judging the quality of the reports. But the Governmental Affairs Committee has again asked the General Accounting Office to tell us what the reports say. We want to know if agencies are meeting their goals. If not, we want to know what agencies are going to do about it,” said Senator Thompson, noting that the General Accounting Office reviews will be completed by late June.