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LAREDO MORNING TIMES: Cuellar Pens Service Bill

Cuellar pens service bill

U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar says he successfully included language in the recent government funding bill that calls on the Office of Management and Budget to explain to Congress how it will ensure greater performance across the government and better customer service.


“One of my primary missions as a member of Congress is to improve the responsiveness of our government,” Cuellar said. “Every day my office hears from constituents who are trying to navigate the bureaucracy of Social Security, the Internal Revenue Service, Medicaid or Medicare, to name a few examples, and need our help to ensure they get the benefits or information they need. I have long pushed for improvements to the way the federal government interacts with taxpayers.


“There is no reason that any taxpayer who calls the federal government looking for help should not be treated with the same respect a congressional office receives.


“Breakdowns in the customer service process are in the headlines daily — from issues concerning our veterans and the VA to retirees who have to wait for more than a year to receive the benefits they’ve earned. Unfortunately, a recent Pew Research poll shows that only 28 percent of Americans have a favorable view of government as a whole.


“We owe our taxpayers more than delays and service breakdowns; we owe them an effective, efficient, and responsible government because, ultimately, government is in the business of customer service.”


In addition to the customer service-specific provision Cuellar included in the bill, he also added language that would require government agencies to demonstrate progress toward goals. The Office of Management and Budget will work with agencies to ensure their requests for funds in fiscal year 2017 are linked to agency performance plans.


In 2010, Cuellar passed landmark government reform legislation, the Government Performance Results Modernization Act, which continues to streamline the federal government, make better use of resources and eliminate wasteful redundancy, the congressman’s office said.


The 2010 law required agencies to identify ambitious goals and perform frequent performance evaluations. Agencies have submitted those reports on a quarterly basis since the law’s passage in 2010 and report a wide range of benefits including improved collaboration between agencies and the ability to better use federal resources.