Center Blog

Building a More Effective Government Through a Transformed OMB

October 5, 2016

Peter Kamocsai, Associate and Eric Keller, Senior Manager, Partnership for Public Service

The next president will enter the Oval Office with big campaign promises to keep and a ready set of resources to help. A new report by the Partnership for Public Service explains why the Office of Management and Budget will be critical tool for the next administration to accomplish its goals.

OMB is a small agency of less than 500 staff, but it has huge responsibilities. The agency contains most of the career employees in the White House, so it provides critical institutional knowledge about how government works during the presidential transition.

The agency’s core responsibilities include assisting the president in developing the federal budget, leading management reforms, and reviewing the administration’s planned regulations and legislative proposals. These are critical levers the next administration will need to deliver on campaign promises.

But OMB has untapped potential to assist the next administration in other ways. The big challenges that government faces, from combating Zika to ensuring food safety, all require coordination across multiple agencies. OMB is the only executive branch agency with an enterprise-wide perspective and the authority to lead that coordination. The next administration can use OMB to improve collaboration among agencies, and with the states and localities that help deliver federal programs.

OMB can help make government run better in others way. The agency can:

  • Promote innovation and be a force for removing barriers that impede change
  • Strengthen how the government the uses information and evidence to understand what programs and policies get positive results
  • Bridge the gap between budget and management so that agencies connect spending plans with the capacity to get results

The president-elect’s transition team should turn to OMB to better understand the day-to-day operations of government. OMB’s career staff can highlight processes, deadlines, challenges and opportunities in seeking to push through the administration’s policies and budget priorities, and how the administration might navigate the system to best achieve their goals. OMB also can flag problems that might hinder policy implementation.

Learn more about how the next administration can use OMB to deliver on policy priorities by reading the Partnership for Public Service’s newest report, “From Decisions to Results: Building a More Effective Government Through a Transformed Office of Management and Budget.”


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