Thompson Calls on OMB to Include Off-Budget Costs in Drafting Strategic Plans for Use by Federal Agencies

Washington, DC–Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) today called on the Clinton Administration to assist in making certain that “the agencies, as they develop their strategic plans (under the Government Performance and Results Act), are directly considering the role of regulatory and other off-budget costs in meeting their goals and objectives.”

In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Franklin Raines, Thompson said that GPRA “has great potential to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the federal government….Unfortunately, I am concerned that the agencies may misapprehend their responsibilities under this statute.

“Many regulatory agencies,” Thompson said, “achieve their goals and objectives through regulation, which requires off-budget expenditures by the private or governmental parties that are regulated, as well as other off-budget costs, such as loan guarantees. These off-budget costs can far exceed the on-budget expenses incurred by the regulating agency. Therefore, it is critical that Congressional and Executive Branch managers understand how both on-budget resources and off-budget costs will achieve agency goals and objectives….The public has a right to know this information.”

Thompson said that many agencies are reported to be writing their strategic plans, due to Congress this September, without considering the role of regulatory costs and other off-budget expenditures in meeting their goals. “If agency strategic plans fail to address the issue of off-budget costs,” Thompson said, “I am concerned that the entire GPRA planning process will be undermined.”

Federal agencies with substantial off-budget costs include the Transportation Department (for highway safety regulations), OSHA (for workplace rules) and HUD and the Department of Education (for loan guarantees).