Hearing will examine ‘reinventing government’

A congressional hearing on Tuesday will pit leaders from the nation’s largest federal-employee union and proponents of smaller government against each other to discuss how federal agencies can run more efficiently.

The hearing with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be the second of its kind this year. Testimony this time will come from the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, an IBM executive and several government-management experts.

Carolyn Kaster/AP - Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) (Carolyn Kaster/AP) Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will argue that the federal government has become “too big to manage” and that new policies of the past decade, coupled with lack of accountability, have led to an “infection of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement,” according to an advance copy of his remarks.

Witnesses are expected to debate a proposal to create a so-called “government transition commission” that would work to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs with recommendations from a coalition of non-profit and for-profit groups.

Former comptroller general David Walker, who served with the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, will make the case for creating the work group.

“Establishing such a commission would provide Congress and the president an entity dedicated entirely towards improving government operations and management, resulting in significant federal savings and improved performance,” Walker said in his written testimony.

AFGE president J. David Cox will contend that the oversight committee should reject the proposal to “remake the executive branch according to the wisdom of private-sector management consultants,” according to his prepared remarks.

“It is a profoundly undemocratic initiative that would minimize the role of elected officials and maximize the power of corporate special interests operating behind the scenes to advance their agenda,” Cox said in his written remarks.

The hearing will also focus on recent Government Accountability Office reports on program redundancy and programs that are “high risk” for waste, fraud and abuse, as well as an analysis by the committee that found $67 billion worth of unimplemented recommendations from federal inspectors general.

For more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, friend his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comE-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

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Josh Hicks · June 18, 2013