OMB Working on Program Inventory for COVID Spending, Vought Confirms

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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is working on a program inventory to catalog its project spending, starting with documentation of CARES Act funding, Acting Director Russell Vought confirmed at a June 3 Senate Budget Committee hearing on his nomination to become permanent director of OMB.

Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., pointed out in his opening remarks that he’s been pushing for an OMB program inventory “for some time now.” The inventory “would help to eliminate duplication which is currently plaguing our vast bureaucracy and have a better way to ensure programs are working as intended,” he said.

When Sen. Enzi asked Vought directly about the program inventory later in the hearing, Vought confirmed it would be an OMB priority if he’s confirmed to the permanent post.

“We are in the process, next steps, of rolling out a pilot program that we believe that we can move forward on all of the CARES Act funding that are across agencies and also have a particular coding that allows us to be able to provide additional transparency and build off the current system,” Vought said of OMB’s existing efforts for a program inventory. “It will be part of a long process,” he added.

Generally, Vought said OMB has been working to tackle the “twin goal” of quickly providing financial relief as designated in coronavirus relief efforts, while ensuring transparency.

“We worked very expeditiously within two weeks of the bills being passed to put out guidance to all of the agencies to ensure that we fulfilled the twin goals of trying to get the relief out as quickly as possible,” Vought said, “and also to ensure that we do so in a way that Congress and administration have transparency in how the dollars are spent.”

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