Most people know that the Office of Management and Budget plays a leadership role in the development of the President's budget. However, too often advocates solely focus their federal funding advocacy efforts on the Congress and the members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. While clearly, those who control the purse-strings are essential to the federal funding process and outcomes, the staff – both political and career – at OMB maintain significant expertise in – and authority over - federal departments, agencies, and programs. OMB maintains responsibility for five core functions, only one which relates to the development of the annual budget proposal. It is important to note that OMB:
- provides "oversight of agency performance, federal procurement, financial management";
- coordinates and reviews "all Federal regulations by executive agencies";
- engages in "legislative clearance and coordination (review and clearance of all agency communications with Congress, including testimony and draft bills)"; and
- is involved in "Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda to agency heads and officials."
Given this significant role and associated authority, OMB and its staff are in an unique position to influence policies, programs, and funding across the entire spectrum of the federal government. In my experience, visiting with the OMB staffer whose portfolio includes the program or agency of concern of interest will prove time well spent.
To read the 2014 Budget Guidance released by OMB on May 18th, click here.
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