OMB Director Urges Partnership With Agencies When Making Cuts

By Andrea Salazar

With budget cuts looming, the White House’s top budget official expressed his desire to work in partnership with federal agencies when going through the budget process.
Jack Lew, director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, spoke to federal leaders and managers on Tuesday at an event timed to coincide with the release of a new report, entitled “Making Smart Cuts: Lessons from the 1990s Budget Front.” The report was put out by the Partnership for Public Service.
“One of the things I am urging, from an OMB perspective, is that we look at agencies as partners, in the sense that we not dictate here are the ways to achieve all of the savings, to give agencies tools, and to do it in a way that is, perhaps, less directive and more as guidance,” Lew said.
Instead of commenting on the report itself, however, Lew focused on government reform and performance.
“We have an obligation, those of us who believe that government serves an important function, to be there both making the case that there’s this duty to serve the public and to provide essential services but equally the duty to show that we have the capacity to do it better, to do it more effectively, to do it more efficiently and in the case of the budgetary times we are in, to do it more cheaply,” he said.
Looking to the 1990s for advice on the U.S. budget, the Partnership for Public Service interviewed more than 30 current and former federal officials about their experiences with downsizing during that decade. The group outlined four conditions for success in the 1990s and eight strategies used during those times to deal with budget cuts.
The report is available on the Partnership for Public Service website.

Originally for Talk Radio News Service.

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