Number: 111- 69
Date: December 21, 2010

House Passes Senate-Amended H.R. 2142,
“GPRA Modernization Act of 2010”

On December 21, 2010, the House passed H.R. 2142, the “GPRA Modernization Act of 2010”1 by a vote of 216-139.  This vote was four days after the House failed to pass the bill under suspension of the rules by a vote of 212-131 (two-thirds required for approval). The bill had previously passed the Senate by unanimous consent on December 16th.  It will now be sent to the President for his action.

H.R. 2142 would require Federal agencies to set clear performance goals that can be accurately measured and publicly reported in a more transparent way.

The bill contains the following provisions of interest to SSA.

Section 2: Agency Strategic Plans

  • Would change the date that an agency would be required to make available on its public website its agency strategic plan to the first Monday in February of each year following a Presidential election.
  • Would change agency strategic plan period of coverage from 5 to 4 years.
  • Would require, among other things,  agency strategic plans to describe how: agency performance goals and objectives would incorporate views and suggestions obtained through Congressional consultations; and performance goals, including agency priority goals, would contribute to agency strategic plan goals.  Section 14 would require such changes to be made no later than February 6, 2012.

Section 3: Federal Government and Agency Performance Plans

  • Would require OMB to coordinate with federal agencies to establish a Federal Government performance plan to be submitted with each budget of the United States Government.
  • Would require each agency, not later than the first Monday in February of each year, to make available on its public website a performance plan that would:

    • establish performance goals, and express such goals in an objective, proven, and measurable form;

    • describe how the performance goals contribute to the general goals and objectives established in the agency’s strategic plan, and the Federal Government performance plan;

    • identify among the performance goals those that are designated as agency priority goals;

    • provide a description of how the performance goals are to be achieved;

    • establish performance indicators to be used in measuring or assessing progress toward each performance goal,and a basis for comparing results with goals while ensuring accuracy and reliability of data;

    • describe major management challenges facing the agency; and,

    • identify low-priority program activities based on analysis of contribution to agency mission and goals and include an evidence-based justification for designating a program activity as low priority.

Section 4: Performance Reporting Amendments

  • Would require each agency to make available, on its public website and to OMB, an update on agency performance.  Each update would, in addition to requirements under present law: compare actual performance achieved with the performance goals established in the agency performance plan; review the success of achieving the performance goals and include actual results for the 5 preceding fiscal years; and describe how the agency ensures the accuracy and reliability of the data used to measure progress towards its performance goals.
  • Would require each agency to make performance reporting updates beginning in fiscal year 2012 under section 14.

Section 5: Federal Government and Agency Priority Goals

  • Would require, every two years, each agency to identify priority goals from among its performance goals.  The agency priority goals would reflect the highest priorities of the agency and would require: ambitious targets that can be achieved within a 2-year period; interim quarterly targets if more frequent updates of actual performance provide significant value; and clearly defined quarterly milestones.

Unless otherwise noted, Section 14 would require each agency to incorporate sections 3, 4, and 5 in agency plans and reports beginning with fiscal year 2013.

Section 6:  Progress Reviews and Use Of Performance Information.

  • Not less than quarterly, would require each agency to:

    • Review progress achieved for each agency priority goal;

    • Assess whether relevant organizations, program activities, regulations, policies, and other activities are contributing as planned to the agency priority goals;

    • Categorize agency priority goals by risk of not achieving the planned level of performance, and identify improvement strategies for those goals at greatest risk of not meeting planned performance levels.

Section 7: Transparency of Programs, Goals, and Results

  • Would require each agency to provide to OMB a detailed description of each agency priority goal including strategies for performance improvement. 

Section 8: Agency Chief Operating Officers

  • Would establish a Chief Operating Officer (COO) in each agency to be responsible for improving agency management and performance.

Section 9: Agency Performance Improvement Officers

  • Would establish a Performance Improvement Officer (PIO) in each agency to advise and assist the agency head and the COO to ensure that agency mission and goals are achieved.

Section 10: Performance Plan and Report Format

  • Starting fiscal year 2012, would prohibit an agency from incurring expenses relating to printing strategic plans and performance plans and reports, except when providing such documents to Congress. 
  • Would require each agency to produce such plans and reports in searchable, machine-readable formats, and make them available on its public website.

Section 11: Reducing Duplicative and Outdated Agency Reports

  • Would require the COO to provide OMB on an annual basis information concerning outdated or duplicative plans and reports. 

Unless otherwise specified, provisions of the law are effective upon enactment.



1 GPRA refers to the Government Performance and Results Act.  H.R. 2142 uses the acronym itself in the bill title.