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Overview:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) functions as the primary budget office for the Executive Branch of the federal government. The OMB oversees the budgetary activities of various federal agencies for the White House and offers advice to senior White House officials on policy, management, legislation, regulatory, procurement, e-gov, and budgetary functions. One of the largest tasks assigned to the office is preparing the President’s annual budget request submitted to Congress, a document that runs into the thousands of pages. Over the last 30 years, the agency has sometimes found itself in the thick of political debates over balancing the federal budget. Its most famous director, David Stockman, became a high-profile figure (unlike most OMB officials) during the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan declared war on big government and attempted (unsuccessfully) to shrink the size of federal agencies.

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History:

In 1921 the Bureau of the Budget was established as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, according to the Accounting Act. The Treasury Department continued overseeing the budget office until 1939, when the Executive Office of the President (EOP) was given authority over the bureau.

 

In 1970, during the Nixon administration, the Bureau of the Budget was reorganized and renamed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In the 1990s, it was further reorganized to combine management and budgetary staff responsibilities under the heading of the various Resource Management Offices.

 

Historically, the OMB and its predecessor have quietly gone about its work, leaving public debates over the state of the federal budget in the hands of the White House or Congress. The exception was David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first director of OMB.

 

Stockman entered the White House a true believer in supply-side economics and was gung-ho about radically shrinking the size of government. His ambition to cut federal spending made him a poster child for Reaganomics and a much despised figure among liberals. Despite his zeal, Stockman failed to achieve significant budget cuts in federal spending, which, combined with Reagan’s tax cuts, caused massive budget deficits in the 1980s. A story in the Atlantic Monthly depicted Stockman as a brilliant young conservative idealist who gradually became disillusioned with the conservative movement’s grand theories about how the world worked. Stockman expressed his own disgust with the political process in his memoir, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed.

 

For some OMB directors, the position has proven to be a launching pad for bigger assignments in the federal government. Caspar Weinberger and George Shultz both served as head of the budget office for Nixon, with Weinberger going on to serve as Secretary of Defense and Shultz as Secretary of State, both under Reagan. In the Clinton administration, Leon Panetta went from OMB to White House Chief of Staff, as did Joshua Bolten in the administration of President George W. Bush.

 

Peter Orszag, on the other hand, departed the Obama administration after his OMB directorship to become a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributing columnist for the New York Times Op-Ed page and Bloomberg View, subsequently joining Citigroup as Vice Chairman of Global Banking. As Obama’s first head of OMB, Orszag was involved with the health care reform plan and responsible for the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

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What it Does:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is a cabinet-level agency operating under the authority of the Executive Office of the President. The agency is responsible for administering the President’s annual budget request, issuing circulars on agency management practices, and reviewing agency regulations. 

 

Six positions within the OMB are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. These include the director, the deputy director, the deputy director for management, and the administrators of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Office of Federal Financial Management.

 

The agency is divided into five Resource Management Offices (RMOs), each led by an OMB associate director. Program examiners within these RMOs are assigned to monitor one or more federal agencies or may be assigned a specific area, along with its management and budgetary issues. Examiners analyze trends and consequences of budget policy, provide strategic and technical support for budget decision making and negotiations, and monitor congressional action on spending legislation.

 

Each year, staff members review federal agency budget requests and help to decide what resource requests will be sent to Congress as part of the President’s budget. Using the Program Assessment Tool, staff members can also review proposed regulations, agency testimony, analyze pending legislation, and oversee all aspects of the President’s Management Agenda. Additionally, they are often called upon to provide information to the agency’s sub-offices, including the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and the Office of Federal Financial Management.

 

The Office of Federal Financial Management provides direction on how to successfully implement financial management policies and systems. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy coordinates efforts to improve federal procurement law, policies and practices, and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) oversees federal regulations and information requirements and develops policies to improve statistics and information management. The Office of Performance and Personnel Management (OPPM) guides agency strategic and annual planning, performance reviews and reporting, and federal personnel policy. The Office of E-Government and Information Technology oversees the use of Internet-based technologies to facilitate citizen interaction with the federal government; it is managed by the Chief Information Officer.

 

Other OMB offices include the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Budget Review Division (BRD) (pdf) and the Legislative Reference Division, which distributes proposed legislation and testimony to all relevant federal reviewers and writes an Enrolled Bill Memorandum to the President once a bill is presented on both sides of Congress. The Enrolled Bill Memorandum details the various elements of the bill, including opinions from relevant federal department and an overall opinion about whether the law should be signed or vetoed. The Legislative Reference Division also issues Statements of Administration Policy, which makes the White House’s official opinions known.

 

From the Web Site of the Office of Management and Budget

Bulletins

Circulars

Congressional Reports

Contact Information

Legislative Information

Letters

Memoranda

News Releases

OMB Locator Service

OMBlog

Open Government Plan

Reports

Testimony

U.S. Budget

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The FY 2013 Congressional Budget Submission for the Office of the President (pdf) provides the following outline of expected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) expenditures for that year:

 

Personnel Compensation & Benefits                                                  $75,779,000

          Includes salaries, terminal leave, premium pay, reimbursable

          details, assignments under the Intergovernmental Personnel

          Act, and all employee benefits.

Rental Payments to GSA                                                                     $7,235,000

Other Contractual Services                                                                   $6,470,000

          Includes advisory and assistance services, other purchases

          of goods and services from government accounts, operations

          and maintenance of facilities, research and development

          contracts, medical care, operations and maintenance of equipment,

          or subsistence and support of persons, and MAX Budget

          System contractor costs.

Communication, Utilities & Misc. Charges                                             $603,000

          Includes data, voice, and wireless communications, as well

          as utilities, postage, and miscellaneous rental charges.

Equipment                                                                                               $519,000

          Includes IT hardware and software, customized software

          programming, printers and network devices, office furniture,

          photocopiers, fax machines, and telephones.

Supplies and Materials                                                                            $416,000

          Includes general and information technology (IT) supplies,

          newspapers, magazine subscriptions, and government publications.

Travel & Transportation of Persons                                                       $348,000

          Includes official travel, such as per diem, hotel and transportation,

          auto rental, and local transportation.

Printing and Reproduction                                                                       $167,000

Official Entertainment                                                                                 $3,000

Transportation of Things                                                                            $2,000

          Includes commercial express delivery as well as freight

          and other shipping charges.

Total Estimated Budget                                                                       $91,542,000

 

The OMB does not have any information regarding contracts on USASpending.govDocument6. However, the office does work with private contractors. In August 2007, REI Systems announced that it had received a contract from SRA Touchstone, which supports the development of a pilot Web site designed to support OMB’s Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. The site makes acquisition, grant, and loan award data available to the general public, and REI Systems assists with technical support and integration services. In May 2011, REI Systems reported that it had developed for OMB the IT Dashboard, a tool to manage complex federal information technology projects, and that the OMB subsequently released the tool’s source code so that it could be adapted for use by outside companies and agencies.

 

WinMagic, a company supplying disk encryption services, announced in June 2007 that it had been selected to provide protection for sensitive, unclassified data on OMB laptops, other computing devices and removable storage media. The contract extended to the Department of Defense and General Services Administration and could result in contract values exceeding $79 million.

more
Controversies:

Capping Private Contractor Executive Compensation

The Obama administration launched an effort in 2011 to cap the amount reimbursed to government contractors for executive compensation.

 

Through the Office of Management and Budget, the administration proposed limiting the compensation at $200,000 a year for company leaders, the same amount paid to cabinet secretaries.

 

To demonstrate why the cap was needed, officials pointed out that following a formula set up under existing federal rules, the statutory limit on reimbursable contractor pay went up to $763,029.

 

Lawmakers in Congress also wanted proposed a plan for capping contractors’ pay. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored legislation that would restrict the taxpayer reimbursement for government contractor salaries. And the Obama administration suggested limiting contractor payments to the highest level paid to senior-most federal officials, such as Cabinet secretaries ($200,000). The bill also would extend the cap to all government contractor employees, not just executives.

OMB Raises Salary Cap For Contractor Executives Because It Has To (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

'Outdated' Contractor Pay Cap Raised 10 Percent (by Matthew Weigelt, Washington Technology)

Obama Jobs and Deficit Proposal Targets Contractor Executive Pay (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

10-12-2011: Lawmakers Urge Super Committee To Address Contractor Salary Cap (by Andrew Lapin, Senedia)

 

Office of Management and Budget

The Office of Management and Budget got swept up in the Solyndra bankruptcy controversy when government emails revealed OMB officials accused the White House of pressuring them on the company’s loan guarantees.

 

The administration awarded solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra $535 million in loan guarantees in 2009 as part of its green-energy strategy and economic stimulus package. Two years later, the company collapsed, which prompted a federal investigation and plenty of political sniping.

 

A congressional probe turned up emails from the OMB that showed Vice President Joe Biden’s office pressured the OMB to speed up approval of Solyndra’s deal in order for Biden to make a factory groundbreaking event.

 

“We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week),” one OMB official wrote to Terrell P. McSweeny, Biden’s domestic policy adviser. “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.”

 

Republicans pounced on Solyndra’s failure, labeling it an example of the wastefulness of the stimulus program. They also said it raised doubts about the administration’s funding of green technology, and may have been an example of crony capitalism.

 

Solyndra was founded in part with funding that originated from Tulsa, Oklahoma, billionaire George Kaiser, a major Obama fundraiser.

White House's Haste On Solar Firm Loan Creates Political Headaches (by Frank James, NPR)

GOP: Solyndra Deal was Rushed (by Jim Puzzanghera and Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times)

Solyndra Controversy A Transparent Attempt To Kill Green Energy (by David Dayen, Campaign for America’s Future)

Furor Over Loans to Failed Solar Firm (by Matthew Wald and Charlie Savage, New York Times)

 

U.S. Army Plan to Add More Generals Shot Down by OMB

In June 2008, the Associated Press reported that the OMB had quashed a service plan proposed by the U.S. Army to add five active-duty generals to oversee purchasing and monitor contractor performance. This came about after a panel criticized the Army for contracting failures that undermined war efforts in Iraq an Afghanistan and wasted millions in tax dollars. The Army already has 300 full-time generals, which the OMB has deemed more than enough to handle any new demands. The Army appealed OMB’s decision and, the following month, the OMB reversed its decision.

White House Rejects Army Plan to Hire Generals to Oversee Contracting (Associated Press)

 

White House Leaves Loophole for Foreign Contractors

In March 2008, the White House indicated that it would not remove a loophole inserted into an OMB budget rule that allows foreign contractors to remain silent if they witness fraud or abuse on U.S. government contracts. The Justice Department opposed the exemption and wrote to the OMB, asking for the exemption to be eliminated. Congressman Peter Welch subsequently authored a bill—the Close the Contractor Fraud Loophole Act (H.R. 5712)—that was signed into law in 2008, which closed that loophole. In January 2012, the OMB—under the Obama administration—directed federal agencies to increase oversight of contractors as a means of cutting down on fraud, waste, and abuse.

White House won't remove loophole allowing foreign contractors to ignore fraud (by John Byrne, Raw Story)

Congress Passes Legislation Which Will Require Contractors to Self-Report

Violations of Criminal and Civil Laws (Sutherland)

OMB memo on contractor oversight (pdf)

 

Government Outsourcing Raises Controversy     

In December 2002, The Washington Post reported that President George W. Bush’s new E-Government initiative (which is part of the OMB) was raising controversy among librarians and public interest groups who were worried that the new law would make it harder and more costly for the public to find government documents and take advantage of existing federal services.

 

Also at issue was a new plan to encourage competition and bids from printing and electronic archiving companies for jobs. The Bush administration said a law requiring agencies of the executive branch to submit all their printing jobs to the GPO was unconstitutional. Previously, the Government Printing Office (GPO) enjoyed a near-monopoly on these services. It maintained that these changes would cost taxpayers an additional $100-200 million every year. Indeed, when it came time to print the federal budget, the GPO placed a bid that was lower than those of private contractors. The OMB said GPO’s winning bid of $387,000 was 23% below what it charged for printing the budget in the previous year. By accepting the GPO bid, the OMB bypassed a potential showdown with Congress, which ordered the administration to have the GPO print the budget. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled in 2002 that federal agencies cannot use appropriated funds to purchase printing services without first going through the GPO in most cases.

E-Gov Law Sets Up Clash Over White House Outsourcing Plan (by Brian Krebs, Washington Post)       

OMB e-Government Scorecard Lacks Essential Citizens’ Perspective, Says Report by ForeSee Results (Business Wire)

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Former Directors:

Peter R. Orszag (January 20, 2009 - July 30, 2010)

Jim Nussle (September 4, 2010 - January 19, 2009)

Robert J. Portman  (May 26, 2006 - August 3, 2007)

Joshua B. Bolten  (June 26, 2003 - April 14, 2006)

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.  (January 23, 2001- June 6, 2003)

Jacob J. Lew  (May 21, 1998 - January 19, 2001)

Franklin D. Raines  (September 13, 1996 - May 21, 1998)

Alice M. Rivlin  (October 17, 1994 - April 26, 1996)

Leon E. Panetta   (January 21, 1993 - October 1994)

Richard G. Darman   (January 25, 1989 - January 20, 1993)

Joseph R. Wright, Jr. (November 8, 1988 - January 20, 1989)

James C. Miller III  (October 8, 1985 - October 15, 1988)

David A. Stockman  (January 21, 1981 - August 1, 1985)

James T. McIntyre, Jr.  (September 24, 1977 - January 20, 1981)

Thomas Bertram Lance  (January 21, 1977 - September 23, 1977

James T. Lynn  (February 10, 1975 - January 20, 1977)

Roy L. Ash  (February 2, 1973 - February 3, 1975)

Casper W. Weinberger  (June 12, 1972 - February 1, 1973)

George P. Shultz  (July 1, 1970 - June 11, 1972)

Robert P. Mayo  (January 22, 1969 - June 30, 1970)

Charles J. Zwick  (January 29, 1968 - January 21, 1969)

Charles L. Schultze  (June 1, 1965 - January 28, 1968)

Kermit Gordon  (December 28, 1962 - June 1, 1965)

David E. Bell  (January 22, 1961 - December 20, 1962)

Maurice H. Stans  (March 18, 1958 - January 21, 1961)

Percival F. Brundage  (April 2, 1956 - March 17, 1958)

Rowland R. Hughes  (April 16, 1954 - April 1, 1956)

Joseph M. Dodge  (January 22, 1953 - April 15, 1954)

Frederick J. Lawton  (April 13, 1950 - January 21, 1953)

Frank Pace  (February 1, 1949 - April 12, 1950)

James E. Webb  (July 13, 1946 - January 27, 1949)

Harold D. Smith  (April 15, 1939 - June 19, 1946)

Daniel W. Bell September 1, 1934 - April 14, 1939

Lewis W. Douglas  (March 7, 1933 - August 31, 1934)

J. Clawson Roop August 15, 1929 - March 3, 1933

Herbert M. Lord  (July 1, 1922 - May 31, 1929)

Charles E. Dawes  (June 23, 1921 - June 30, 1922)

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Founded: 1970
Annual Budget: $91,542,000 (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 512 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Office of Management and Budget
Burwell, Sylvia Mathews
Director

President Barack Obama went to Wal-Mart to get his new budget chief, naming Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who is president of the Wal-Mart Foundation, as his nominee to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She was confirmed by the Senate on April 24, 2013. Burwell, who served as deputy director during the Clinton administration, succeeded Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, who followed Director Jacob Lew, who left OMB more than a earlier and received Senate confirmation as the new secretary of the Treasury.

 

Although this will be her first government job under the Obama administration, Burwell served as Obama-Biden transition agency review lead for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2008-2009.

 

Born in 1965 and raised in Hinton, West Virginia, Burwell is the daughter of optometrist Dr. William Mathews and Hinton Mayor Cleo Mathews. Valedictorian of her class at Hinton High School in 1983, Burwell earned a B.A. in Government from Harvard University in 1987 and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

 

Burwell began her career during college, serving as an intern for her Congressman, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia) and as an aide to Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-Massachusetts). From 1990 to 1992, she was an associate at McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm based in New York.

 

After working on the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign of 1998 and the Bill Clinton campaign of 1992, Burwell served the Clinton Administration in various posts, starting as manager of Clinton’s economic transition team from 1992 to 1993 and staff director of the National Economic Council from 1993 to 1995. She served as chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin from 1995 to 1997, deputy chief of staff to President Clinton from 1997 to 1998, and OMB deputy director from 1998 to 2001.

 

Leaving government after the 2000 election, Burwell was immediately hired by the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation to work as its chief operating officer and executive director, posts she held from January 2001 until a reorganization in 2006, when she became president of Global Development. Passed over for the CEO position when it became available in 2008, Burwell left the Gates Foundation in late 2011 to become president of the Wal-Mart Foundation, which she led starting in January 2012.

 

Burwell is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Aspen Strategy Group and the Nike Foundation Advisory Group. She has been a director of MetLife and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company since January 2004.

 

Burwell is married to attorney Stephen Burwell, with whom she has one child. A lifelong Democrat, she has donated $15,850 to Democratic candidates and causes, including $2,500 to the Democratic National Committee; $3,000 to Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign; $2,600 to President Obama’s 2008 run; $250 to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 U.S. Senate campaign; and $2,900 to Alan Khazei’s two primary campaigns for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts.

 

To Learn More:

Walmart Biography

Hinton Native Tapped: Obama Picks Foundation Chief Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Former Clinton Administration Economics Team Member to Head OMB (by David M. Kinchen, Huntington News)

Burwell as Obama's Budget Director: Walmart Wins, Working Families Lose (by Bertha Lewis, The Guardian)

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Zients, Jeffrey
Previous Director

Just weeks before his administration was due to submit a federal budget for Fiscal Year 2013, President Barack Obama on January 17 named Jeffrey Zients Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is the primary budget office for the Executive Branch of the federal government and offers advice to White House officials on policy, management, legislation, regulation, procurement and e-gov. Zients, who worked in the private sector as a management consultant and was Acting OMB Director for three months in 2010, will replace Jack Lew, who left OMB to be the White House Chief of Staff. Because Obama appointed Zients as “Acting” Director, no Senate confirmation is required.

 
Born in November 1966 in Kensington, Maryland, Zients showed an early predilection for profit, amassing a baseball card collection worth almost $30,000 by the time of his 1984 graduation from the elite St. Albans prep school in Washington, D.C. After earning a B.A. in Political Science at Duke University in 1988, Zients went to work for Bain & Company in Boston, Massachusetts, as a management consultant from August 1988 to June 1990.His time at Bain never coincided with the tenure of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was CEO of Bain from 1991 to 1992.
 
Zients left Bain in 1990 to join the Advisory Board Company as a lieutenant to the company’s owner and founder, David G. Bradley. By 1996, Zients was chief operating officer, and in 1998 he was named CEO. Over the next three years, Zients led efforts to take two Advisory Board businesses public, raising $245 million in two initial public offerings of stock. These moves put Zients on Fortune magazine’s 2002 list of richest Americans under the age of 40, with a reported net worth of $149 million. In 2001, he was named Chairman of the Advisory Board.  In 2004 he left advisory Board after 14 years to head the Washington Baseball Club, an effort to lure a baseball team to Washington, D.C.. However it was a competing ownership group that eventually succeeded in bringing the Montreal Expos to town. Also in 2004, Zients founded Portfolio Logic, a private equity firm that invests in private health-care firms, among other businesses. He worked as its managing director until entering public service.
 
Zients was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009, as OMB Deputy Director for Management and the nation’s first Federal Chief Performance Officer, positions he has held since that time. He also served as OMB’s acting director from July to November 2010, between the departure of Obama’s first budget director, Peter Orszag, and Jack Lew’s Senate confirmation. Zients also co-founded The Urban Alliance Foundation, a non-profit organization that partners with corporations to provide economically disadvantaged youth with year-round paid internships, adult mentors and job training.
 
A Democrat, Zients has made political contributions totaling $91,600 since 1999, all but $500 of it to Democratic candidates and causes, including $53,500 to the Democratic National Committee, $5,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $2,300 to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, and $4,500 to Barack Obama ($3,500 in 2004 and $1,000 in 2006). The lone Republican donation was $500 to Ohio Senator Mike DeWine in 2003. Zientz and his wife Mary, who met while both were working for Bain in Boston, have four children.
 
 
 
 
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Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) functions as the primary budget office for the Executive Branch of the federal government. The OMB oversees the budgetary activities of various federal agencies for the White House and offers advice to senior White House officials on policy, management, legislation, regulatory, procurement, e-gov, and budgetary functions. One of the largest tasks assigned to the office is preparing the President’s annual budget request submitted to Congress, a document that runs into the thousands of pages. Over the last 30 years, the agency has sometimes found itself in the thick of political debates over balancing the federal budget. Its most famous director, David Stockman, became a high-profile figure (unlike most OMB officials) during the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan declared war on big government and attempted (unsuccessfully) to shrink the size of federal agencies.

more
History:

In 1921 the Bureau of the Budget was established as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, according to the Accounting Act. The Treasury Department continued overseeing the budget office until 1939, when the Executive Office of the President (EOP) was given authority over the bureau.

 

In 1970, during the Nixon administration, the Bureau of the Budget was reorganized and renamed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In the 1990s, it was further reorganized to combine management and budgetary staff responsibilities under the heading of the various Resource Management Offices.

 

Historically, the OMB and its predecessor have quietly gone about its work, leaving public debates over the state of the federal budget in the hands of the White House or Congress. The exception was David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first director of OMB.

 

Stockman entered the White House a true believer in supply-side economics and was gung-ho about radically shrinking the size of government. His ambition to cut federal spending made him a poster child for Reaganomics and a much despised figure among liberals. Despite his zeal, Stockman failed to achieve significant budget cuts in federal spending, which, combined with Reagan’s tax cuts, caused massive budget deficits in the 1980s. A story in the Atlantic Monthly depicted Stockman as a brilliant young conservative idealist who gradually became disillusioned with the conservative movement’s grand theories about how the world worked. Stockman expressed his own disgust with the political process in his memoir, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed.

 

For some OMB directors, the position has proven to be a launching pad for bigger assignments in the federal government. Caspar Weinberger and George Shultz both served as head of the budget office for Nixon, with Weinberger going on to serve as Secretary of Defense and Shultz as Secretary of State, both under Reagan. In the Clinton administration, Leon Panetta went from OMB to White House Chief of Staff, as did Joshua Bolten in the administration of President George W. Bush.

 

Peter Orszag, on the other hand, departed the Obama administration after his OMB directorship to become a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributing columnist for the New York Times Op-Ed page and Bloomberg View, subsequently joining Citigroup as Vice Chairman of Global Banking. As Obama’s first head of OMB, Orszag was involved with the health care reform plan and responsible for the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

more
What it Does:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is a cabinet-level agency operating under the authority of the Executive Office of the President. The agency is responsible for administering the President’s annual budget request, issuing circulars on agency management practices, and reviewing agency regulations. 

 

Six positions within the OMB are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. These include the director, the deputy director, the deputy director for management, and the administrators of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Office of Federal Financial Management.

 

The agency is divided into five Resource Management Offices (RMOs), each led by an OMB associate director. Program examiners within these RMOs are assigned to monitor one or more federal agencies or may be assigned a specific area, along with its management and budgetary issues. Examiners analyze trends and consequences of budget policy, provide strategic and technical support for budget decision making and negotiations, and monitor congressional action on spending legislation.

 

Each year, staff members review federal agency budget requests and help to decide what resource requests will be sent to Congress as part of the President’s budget. Using the Program Assessment Tool, staff members can also review proposed regulations, agency testimony, analyze pending legislation, and oversee all aspects of the President’s Management Agenda. Additionally, they are often called upon to provide information to the agency’s sub-offices, including the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and the Office of Federal Financial Management.

 

The Office of Federal Financial Management provides direction on how to successfully implement financial management policies and systems. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy coordinates efforts to improve federal procurement law, policies and practices, and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) oversees federal regulations and information requirements and develops policies to improve statistics and information management. The Office of Performance and Personnel Management (OPPM) guides agency strategic and annual planning, performance reviews and reporting, and federal personnel policy. The Office of E-Government and Information Technology oversees the use of Internet-based technologies to facilitate citizen interaction with the federal government; it is managed by the Chief Information Officer.

 

Other OMB offices include the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Budget Review Division (BRD) (pdf) and the Legislative Reference Division, which distributes proposed legislation and testimony to all relevant federal reviewers and writes an Enrolled Bill Memorandum to the President once a bill is presented on both sides of Congress. The Enrolled Bill Memorandum details the various elements of the bill, including opinions from relevant federal department and an overall opinion about whether the law should be signed or vetoed. The Legislative Reference Division also issues Statements of Administration Policy, which makes the White House’s official opinions known.

 

From the Web Site of the Office of Management and Budget

Bulletins

Circulars

Congressional Reports

Contact Information

Legislative Information

Letters

Memoranda

News Releases

OMB Locator Service

OMBlog

Open Government Plan

Reports

Testimony

U.S. Budget

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The FY 2013 Congressional Budget Submission for the Office of the President (pdf) provides the following outline of expected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) expenditures for that year:

 

Personnel Compensation & Benefits                                                  $75,779,000

          Includes salaries, terminal leave, premium pay, reimbursable

          details, assignments under the Intergovernmental Personnel

          Act, and all employee benefits.

Rental Payments to GSA                                                                     $7,235,000

Other Contractual Services                                                                   $6,470,000

          Includes advisory and assistance services, other purchases

          of goods and services from government accounts, operations

          and maintenance of facilities, research and development

          contracts, medical care, operations and maintenance of equipment,

          or subsistence and support of persons, and MAX Budget

          System contractor costs.

Communication, Utilities & Misc. Charges                                             $603,000

          Includes data, voice, and wireless communications, as well

          as utilities, postage, and miscellaneous rental charges.

Equipment                                                                                               $519,000

          Includes IT hardware and software, customized software

          programming, printers and network devices, office furniture,

          photocopiers, fax machines, and telephones.

Supplies and Materials                                                                            $416,000

          Includes general and information technology (IT) supplies,

          newspapers, magazine subscriptions, and government publications.

Travel & Transportation of Persons                                                       $348,000

          Includes official travel, such as per diem, hotel and transportation,

          auto rental, and local transportation.

Printing and Reproduction                                                                       $167,000

Official Entertainment                                                                                 $3,000

Transportation of Things                                                                            $2,000

          Includes commercial express delivery as well as freight

          and other shipping charges.

Total Estimated Budget                                                                       $91,542,000

 

The OMB does not have any information regarding contracts on USASpending.govDocument6. However, the office does work with private contractors. In August 2007, REI Systems announced that it had received a contract from SRA Touchstone, which supports the development of a pilot Web site designed to support OMB’s Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. The site makes acquisition, grant, and loan award data available to the general public, and REI Systems assists with technical support and integration services. In May 2011, REI Systems reported that it had developed for OMB the IT Dashboard, a tool to manage complex federal information technology projects, and that the OMB subsequently released the tool’s source code so that it could be adapted for use by outside companies and agencies.

 

WinMagic, a company supplying disk encryption services, announced in June 2007 that it had been selected to provide protection for sensitive, unclassified data on OMB laptops, other computing devices and removable storage media. The contract extended to the Department of Defense and General Services Administration and could result in contract values exceeding $79 million.

more
Controversies:

Capping Private Contractor Executive Compensation

The Obama administration launched an effort in 2011 to cap the amount reimbursed to government contractors for executive compensation.

 

Through the Office of Management and Budget, the administration proposed limiting the compensation at $200,000 a year for company leaders, the same amount paid to cabinet secretaries.

 

To demonstrate why the cap was needed, officials pointed out that following a formula set up under existing federal rules, the statutory limit on reimbursable contractor pay went up to $763,029.

 

Lawmakers in Congress also wanted proposed a plan for capping contractors’ pay. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored legislation that would restrict the taxpayer reimbursement for government contractor salaries. And the Obama administration suggested limiting contractor payments to the highest level paid to senior-most federal officials, such as Cabinet secretaries ($200,000). The bill also would extend the cap to all government contractor employees, not just executives.

OMB Raises Salary Cap For Contractor Executives Because It Has To (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

'Outdated' Contractor Pay Cap Raised 10 Percent (by Matthew Weigelt, Washington Technology)

Obama Jobs and Deficit Proposal Targets Contractor Executive Pay (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

10-12-2011: Lawmakers Urge Super Committee To Address Contractor Salary Cap (by Andrew Lapin, Senedia)

 

Office of Management and Budget

The Office of Management and Budget got swept up in the Solyndra bankruptcy controversy when government emails revealed OMB officials accused the White House of pressuring them on the company’s loan guarantees.

 

The administration awarded solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra $535 million in loan guarantees in 2009 as part of its green-energy strategy and economic stimulus package. Two years later, the company collapsed, which prompted a federal investigation and plenty of political sniping.

 

A congressional probe turned up emails from the OMB that showed Vice President Joe Biden’s office pressured the OMB to speed up approval of Solyndra’s deal in order for Biden to make a factory groundbreaking event.

 

“We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week),” one OMB official wrote to Terrell P. McSweeny, Biden’s domestic policy adviser. “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.”

 

Republicans pounced on Solyndra’s failure, labeling it an example of the wastefulness of the stimulus program. They also said it raised doubts about the administration’s funding of green technology, and may have been an example of crony capitalism.

 

Solyndra was founded in part with funding that originated from Tulsa, Oklahoma, billionaire George Kaiser, a major Obama fundraiser.

White House's Haste On Solar Firm Loan Creates Political Headaches (by Frank James, NPR)

GOP: Solyndra Deal was Rushed (by Jim Puzzanghera and Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times)

Solyndra Controversy A Transparent Attempt To Kill Green Energy (by David Dayen, Campaign for America’s Future)

Furor Over Loans to Failed Solar Firm (by Matthew Wald and Charlie Savage, New York Times)

 

U.S. Army Plan to Add More Generals Shot Down by OMB

In June 2008, the Associated Press reported that the OMB had quashed a service plan proposed by the U.S. Army to add five active-duty generals to oversee purchasing and monitor contractor performance. This came about after a panel criticized the Army for contracting failures that undermined war efforts in Iraq an Afghanistan and wasted millions in tax dollars. The Army already has 300 full-time generals, which the OMB has deemed more than enough to handle any new demands. The Army appealed OMB’s decision and, the following month, the OMB reversed its decision.

White House Rejects Army Plan to Hire Generals to Oversee Contracting (Associated Press)

 

White House Leaves Loophole for Foreign Contractors

In March 2008, the White House indicated that it would not remove a loophole inserted into an OMB budget rule that allows foreign contractors to remain silent if they witness fraud or abuse on U.S. government contracts. The Justice Department opposed the exemption and wrote to the OMB, asking for the exemption to be eliminated. Congressman Peter Welch subsequently authored a bill—the Close the Contractor Fraud Loophole Act (H.R. 5712)—that was signed into law in 2008, which closed that loophole. In January 2012, the OMB—under the Obama administration—directed federal agencies to increase oversight of contractors as a means of cutting down on fraud, waste, and abuse.

White House won't remove loophole allowing foreign contractors to ignore fraud (by John Byrne, Raw Story)

Congress Passes Legislation Which Will Require Contractors to Self-Report

Violations of Criminal and Civil Laws (Sutherland)

OMB memo on contractor oversight (pdf)

 

Government Outsourcing Raises Controversy     

In December 2002, The Washington Post reported that President George W. Bush’s new E-Government initiative (which is part of the OMB) was raising controversy among librarians and public interest groups who were worried that the new law would make it harder and more costly for the public to find government documents and take advantage of existing federal services.

 

Also at issue was a new plan to encourage competition and bids from printing and electronic archiving companies for jobs. The Bush administration said a law requiring agencies of the executive branch to submit all their printing jobs to the GPO was unconstitutional. Previously, the Government Printing Office (GPO) enjoyed a near-monopoly on these services. It maintained that these changes would cost taxpayers an additional $100-200 million every year. Indeed, when it came time to print the federal budget, the GPO placed a bid that was lower than those of private contractors. The OMB said GPO’s winning bid of $387,000 was 23% below what it charged for printing the budget in the previous year. By accepting the GPO bid, the OMB bypassed a potential showdown with Congress, which ordered the administration to have the GPO print the budget. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled in 2002 that federal agencies cannot use appropriated funds to purchase printing services without first going through the GPO in most cases.

E-Gov Law Sets Up Clash Over White House Outsourcing Plan (by Brian Krebs, Washington Post)       

OMB e-Government Scorecard Lacks Essential Citizens’ Perspective, Says Report by ForeSee Results (Business Wire)

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Former Directors:

Peter R. Orszag (January 20, 2009 - July 30, 2010)

Jim Nussle (September 4, 2010 - January 19, 2009)

Robert J. Portman  (May 26, 2006 - August 3, 2007)

Joshua B. Bolten  (June 26, 2003 - April 14, 2006)

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.  (January 23, 2001- June 6, 2003)

Jacob J. Lew  (May 21, 1998 - January 19, 2001)

Franklin D. Raines  (September 13, 1996 - May 21, 1998)

Alice M. Rivlin  (October 17, 1994 - April 26, 1996)

Leon E. Panetta   (January 21, 1993 - October 1994)

Richard G. Darman   (January 25, 1989 - January 20, 1993)

Joseph R. Wright, Jr. (November 8, 1988 - January 20, 1989)

James C. Miller III  (October 8, 1985 - October 15, 1988)

David A. Stockman  (January 21, 1981 - August 1, 1985)

James T. McIntyre, Jr.  (September 24, 1977 - January 20, 1981)

Thomas Bertram Lance  (January 21, 1977 - September 23, 1977

James T. Lynn  (February 10, 1975 - January 20, 1977)

Roy L. Ash  (February 2, 1973 - February 3, 1975)

Casper W. Weinberger  (June 12, 1972 - February 1, 1973)

George P. Shultz  (July 1, 1970 - June 11, 1972)

Robert P. Mayo  (January 22, 1969 - June 30, 1970)

Charles J. Zwick  (January 29, 1968 - January 21, 1969)

Charles L. Schultze  (June 1, 1965 - January 28, 1968)

Kermit Gordon  (December 28, 1962 - June 1, 1965)

David E. Bell  (January 22, 1961 - December 20, 1962)

Maurice H. Stans  (March 18, 1958 - January 21, 1961)

Percival F. Brundage  (April 2, 1956 - March 17, 1958)

Rowland R. Hughes  (April 16, 1954 - April 1, 1956)

Joseph M. Dodge  (January 22, 1953 - April 15, 1954)

Frederick J. Lawton  (April 13, 1950 - January 21, 1953)

Frank Pace  (February 1, 1949 - April 12, 1950)

James E. Webb  (July 13, 1946 - January 27, 1949)

Harold D. Smith  (April 15, 1939 - June 19, 1946)

Daniel W. Bell September 1, 1934 - April 14, 1939

Lewis W. Douglas  (March 7, 1933 - August 31, 1934)

J. Clawson Roop August 15, 1929 - March 3, 1933

Herbert M. Lord  (July 1, 1922 - May 31, 1929)

Charles E. Dawes  (June 23, 1921 - June 30, 1922)

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Founded: 1970
Annual Budget: $91,542,000 (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 512 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Office of Management and Budget
Burwell, Sylvia Mathews
Director

President Barack Obama went to Wal-Mart to get his new budget chief, naming Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who is president of the Wal-Mart Foundation, as his nominee to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She was confirmed by the Senate on April 24, 2013. Burwell, who served as deputy director during the Clinton administration, succeeded Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, who followed Director Jacob Lew, who left OMB more than a earlier and received Senate confirmation as the new secretary of the Treasury.

 

Although this will be her first government job under the Obama administration, Burwell served as Obama-Biden transition agency review lead for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2008-2009.

 

Born in 1965 and raised in Hinton, West Virginia, Burwell is the daughter of optometrist Dr. William Mathews and Hinton Mayor Cleo Mathews. Valedictorian of her class at Hinton High School in 1983, Burwell earned a B.A. in Government from Harvard University in 1987 and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

 

Burwell began her career during college, serving as an intern for her Congressman, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia) and as an aide to Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-Massachusetts). From 1990 to 1992, she was an associate at McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm based in New York.

 

After working on the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign of 1998 and the Bill Clinton campaign of 1992, Burwell served the Clinton Administration in various posts, starting as manager of Clinton’s economic transition team from 1992 to 1993 and staff director of the National Economic Council from 1993 to 1995. She served as chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin from 1995 to 1997, deputy chief of staff to President Clinton from 1997 to 1998, and OMB deputy director from 1998 to 2001.

 

Leaving government after the 2000 election, Burwell was immediately hired by the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation to work as its chief operating officer and executive director, posts she held from January 2001 until a reorganization in 2006, when she became president of Global Development. Passed over for the CEO position when it became available in 2008, Burwell left the Gates Foundation in late 2011 to become president of the Wal-Mart Foundation, which she led starting in January 2012.

 

Burwell is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Aspen Strategy Group and the Nike Foundation Advisory Group. She has been a director of MetLife and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company since January 2004.

 

Burwell is married to attorney Stephen Burwell, with whom she has one child. A lifelong Democrat, she has donated $15,850 to Democratic candidates and causes, including $2,500 to the Democratic National Committee; $3,000 to Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign; $2,600 to President Obama’s 2008 run; $250 to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 U.S. Senate campaign; and $2,900 to Alan Khazei’s two primary campaigns for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts.

 

To Learn More:

Walmart Biography

Hinton Native Tapped: Obama Picks Foundation Chief Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Former Clinton Administration Economics Team Member to Head OMB (by David M. Kinchen, Huntington News)

Burwell as Obama's Budget Director: Walmart Wins, Working Families Lose (by Bertha Lewis, The Guardian)

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Zients, Jeffrey
Previous Director

Just weeks before his administration was due to submit a federal budget for Fiscal Year 2013, President Barack Obama on January 17 named Jeffrey Zients Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is the primary budget office for the Executive Branch of the federal government and offers advice to White House officials on policy, management, legislation, regulation, procurement and e-gov. Zients, who worked in the private sector as a management consultant and was Acting OMB Director for three months in 2010, will replace Jack Lew, who left OMB to be the White House Chief of Staff. Because Obama appointed Zients as “Acting” Director, no Senate confirmation is required.

 
Born in November 1966 in Kensington, Maryland, Zients showed an early predilection for profit, amassing a baseball card collection worth almost $30,000 by the time of his 1984 graduation from the elite St. Albans prep school in Washington, D.C. After earning a B.A. in Political Science at Duke University in 1988, Zients went to work for Bain & Company in Boston, Massachusetts, as a management consultant from August 1988 to June 1990.His time at Bain never coincided with the tenure of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was CEO of Bain from 1991 to 1992.
 
Zients left Bain in 1990 to join the Advisory Board Company as a lieutenant to the company’s owner and founder, David G. Bradley. By 1996, Zients was chief operating officer, and in 1998 he was named CEO. Over the next three years, Zients led efforts to take two Advisory Board businesses public, raising $245 million in two initial public offerings of stock. These moves put Zients on Fortune magazine’s 2002 list of richest Americans under the age of 40, with a reported net worth of $149 million. In 2001, he was named Chairman of the Advisory Board.  In 2004 he left advisory Board after 14 years to head the Washington Baseball Club, an effort to lure a baseball team to Washington, D.C.. However it was a competing ownership group that eventually succeeded in bringing the Montreal Expos to town. Also in 2004, Zients founded Portfolio Logic, a private equity firm that invests in private health-care firms, among other businesses. He worked as its managing director until entering public service.
 
Zients was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009, as OMB Deputy Director for Management and the nation’s first Federal Chief Performance Officer, positions he has held since that time. He also served as OMB’s acting director from July to November 2010, between the departure of Obama’s first budget director, Peter Orszag, and Jack Lew’s Senate confirmation. Zients also co-founded The Urban Alliance Foundation, a non-profit organization that partners with corporations to provide economically disadvantaged youth with year-round paid internships, adult mentors and job training.
 
A Democrat, Zients has made political contributions totaling $91,600 since 1999, all but $500 of it to Democratic candidates and causes, including $53,500 to the Democratic National Committee, $5,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $2,300 to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, and $4,500 to Barack Obama ($3,500 in 2004 and $1,000 in 2006). The lone Republican donation was $500 to Ohio Senator Mike DeWine in 2003. Zientz and his wife Mary, who met while both were working for Bain in Boston, have four children.
 
 
 
 
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