Obama Administration Identifies 376 Useless Reports Worth Eliminating

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In the never-ending battle to make government more efficient, there is no juicier target for budget-cutters than mandated government reports that no-one reads or uses. Last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) identified 376 congressionally mandated reports that are duplicative or largely pointless, but since Congress required the reports in the first place, it is up to Congress to decide whether or not to abolish them.


The report on useless reports is required by Congress in the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act, which President Obama signed in 2010. The reports were identified by the various federal agencies themselves, while the OMB finalized the complete list.


Among the 376 reports are the following:


• A Corporation for National and Community Service “Report on Reports Provided by Other Federal Agencies,” which is literally a report about other reports;


• A Pentagon biannual “space protection strategy” analysis, which DoD says it can fold into other reports;


• A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report based on input from hundreds of people across government—which the White House actually doesn’t use in preparing its annual budgets.


• A DHS report on the illegal importation of products containing dog and cat fur, which has found only one violation in the last five years.


• A Department of Defense report on “Consideration of Proposals for Posthumous and Honorary Promotions and Appointments” because “there is no evidence that report requirement was every triggered.”


• The Atlantic Tunas Convention Authorization Act of 1995 Report on Highly Migratory Species, which is unnecessary because the information is made available on the web site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


OMB is required to update the list annually, while Congress is supposed to work with federal agencies to revise reporting requirements based on the agency recommendations.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Agencies Identify Hundreds of Unnecessary Reports (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post)

List of Reports Required by P.L. 111-352 (format: xls)

U.S. Government Wins Ig Nobel Prize for Report about Reports about Reports (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

California Gov. Brown Proposes Eliminating 718 Useless Reports (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment