House Amendment to S. 1550, Program Management Improvement Accountability Act

H.Amdt. S. 1550

Program Management Improvement Accountability Act

Sen. Joni Ernst

September 20, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Tuesday, September 20, 2016, the House will consider the House Amendment to S. 1550, Program Management Improvement Accountability Act, under suspension of the rules. S. 1550 was introduced on June 10, 2015, by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and passed the Senate by unanimous consent on November 19, 2015. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ordered the bill reported, as amended, on May 17, 2016, by voice vote.

Bill Summary

The House Amendment to S. 1550 requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish government-wide standards and policies for program management, creates the position of Program Management Improvement Officer, and establishes an interagency Program Management Policy Council. The bill requires each Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Act agency to designate a Program Management Improvement Officer (PMIO), to serve on the Council and develop a strategy to improve program management at the agency.  The bill exempts the Department of Defense from requirements in the bill to related to government-wide regulations established by the Office of Management and Budget as required by the bill.

The House Amendment to the Senate passed bill would require the Council established by the bill to terminate within two years, unless the council’s charter is extended by the President, and it reduces the latitude the chairperson of the council has in determining additional membership on the council.


The federal government is estimated to spend more than $4 trillion in fiscal year 2017 and even minor improvements to efficiency can result in significant cost savings. Improvements in the leadership, training, and guidance of project and program management could assist those efforts.

A 2013 survey sponsored by the Project Management Institute found that only 11 percent of government organizations have a senior-level program management-related role. Moreover, only 37 percent of government respondents had a formal process for developing program management competency—17 percent lower than in private industry.

According to the Committee, “even with the limited nature of program management roles and training, the federal government has been able to achieve tangible benefits in certain areas. For example, the U.S. Government Accountability Office publishes an annual report on duplication, fragmentation, overlap and other potential cost savings in the federal government and a biennial report on programs that are deemed “high risk” of waste, fraud, and abuse. The extra attention to the programs highlighted as duplicative or inefficient has produced significant positive results for the taxpayer. Attention to high risk areas has resulted in more than $40 billion in financial benefits and 866 other improvements related to high-risk areas. Similar efforts to improve specific areas identified in the annual report on duplication and other cost savings will result in $125 billion in financial benefits.”

According to the bill sponsor, “The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act streamlines efforts and outlines strategies to correct widespread deficiencies, lax oversight and unnecessary cost incurred by preventable delays in meeting stated program goals and deadlines. These much needed reforms ensure that taxpayer dollars are safeguarded by increasing accountability throughout the federal government.”[1]

[1] See Sen. Joni Ernst Press Release, “Senators Ernst, Heitkamp Introduce Legislation to Safeguard Tax Dollars by Streamlining Federal Government Processes,” June 11, 2015.


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates enacting S. 1550, as reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, would increase the administrative costs of federal agencies by a total of $20 million over the 2017-2021 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Enacting S. 1550 could affect direct spending by agencies not funded by annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that any net changes in direct spending by those agencies would be negligible. Enacting the legislation would not affect revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.