I’m just listening to an NGP meeting and heard Tony Cavataio report that the Grants Policy Committee voted unanimously not to reauthorize Public Law 106–107, the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act. The purposes of this law, which is set to expire in four months, are to:
- improve the effectiveness and performance of Federal grant programs,
- simplify grant application and reporting requirements,
- improve the delivery of services to the public, and
- facilitate greater coordination among those responsible for delivering such services.
Peter Wathen-Dunn also gave a review of progress under P.L. 106–107 and, I have to say, it was pretty depressing listening. As Peter said, the most progress has been made under technology initiatives associated with grants streamlining, but there has been little progress on streamlining policy, forms, or processes.
It’s pretty clear that a lack of resources at OMB is to blame for this shortfall against the law’s ambitions. With so many competing unfunded mandates, it’s optimistic to believe that agencies will spend a huge amount of time fixing grants policy problems without a legal mandate to do so. So this is very disappointing news.
The NGP hopes to get some justification for this outcome from the GPC. Let’s hope it’s a good ‘un.