OMB shifts focus on program ratings

WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama's proposed $3.6 trillion budget allocates $38 billion for programs the Bush administration said weren't performing well, documents show.

Funding the underperforming programs reflects the Obama administration's broad policy shift as well as a decision to measure performance differently, USA Today reported Tuesday.


As an example of this about-face, Amtrak would receive $1.5 billion -- a slight increase over the current budget -- even though the rail service was deemed ineffective by the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.

Watchdog groups have praised the Bush administration's ranking of programs, contending that some programs with performance issues continue to receive funding because they are politically popular, the newspaper said.

"As soon as you start pumping money out the door, there's always someone on the other end willing to take it," said Leslie Paige of Citizens Against Government Waste. "It's a culture of spending that's gotten really out of control."

Obama's OMB plans to change how programs are evaluated, spokesman Tom Gavin, explaining that the budgetary agency views the Bush system as too focused on ratings instead of improving performance.

"There have been bipartisan concerns expressed with the … system," Gavin told USA Today in an e-mail.


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