White House to agencies: On stimulus planning don't delay! Act now!


Although the details of what should be the final stimulus bill have only just been made public, earlier this week the White House ordered agencies to get cracking on plans to manage and oversee the unprecedented amount of spending they’ll be asked to do.

In a Feb. 9 memo first reported by Government Executive, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag wrote:

Meeting these commitments will require sustained focus by managers throughout the federal government, particularly in planning, awarding, managing and overseeing contracts and grants. Departments and agencies should immediately begin developing plans for allocating workforce resources to meet recovery-related responsibilities and for mitigating potential implementation risks.

The memo also told agencies to look for guidance from OMB soon on how to:

  • Report spending on Recovery.gov.
  • Establish internal controls and oversight mechanisms to meet the accountability requirements of the bill.
  • Enhance the process for awarding and overseeing funds to meet the accelerated spending timeframes in the bill, while still being transparent and accountable.

Agencies must immediately report to OMB their implementation challenges, solutions they’re considering to meet those challenges and questions that need to be identified in the governmentwide guidance. Agencies can expect initial guidance from OMB soon after President Barack Obama signs the bill, the memo said. More detailed guidance will be issued within the next two months. Agencies are also supposed to identify a senior official responsible for oversight by close of business today.

What is your agency planning? Email me at ecastelli@federaltimes.com. Or Gregg Carlstrom at gcarlstrom@federaltimes.com.


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