“This is my last election,” President Barack Obama famously told Russia’s outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev in March, in a conversation inadvertently caught on a “hot” microphone. “After my election, I have more flexibility.”
Obama was talking foreign policy, but it’s intriguing to contemplate what the President’s second-term “flexibility” will mean for his performance-based budgeting agenda and for the federal workforce in general.
To be sure, a second-term Obama White House will continue to battle conservatives in Congress, who may continue to be entirely inflexible about their refusal to entertain revenue increases as part of a balanced approach to long-term deficit reform. And though budgets are already tight, any resolution to our fiscal challenges may entail further spending cuts in the short term. It won’t be easy for the White House to persuade Congress to approach any new cuts “with a scalpel, not with a hatchet,” as Obama has long preferred.
Whatever the outcome of those fights, federal workers have a responsibility to help political leaders make smarter budgeting decisions. To that end, lawmakers need to know which programs are most effective, and which are least effective. And there will continue to be an urgent need to deploy what evidence there is on program effectiveness to inform budget decisions.
The above excerpt was originally published in Federal News Radio.
Click here to view the full article.