From C-Span:

Thank you. Mr. President, I rise to introduce the chief financial officer vision act of 2020. Shortened to be c.f.o. vision act of 2020. I’m pleased to have senators warner, Johnson, Lankford and Perdue join me as cosponsors to strengthen the financial management and improve financial and performance data. Improve financial management. This is numbers, I know this puts people to sleep. Improve financial data management can ensure that the taxpayer money is wisely and appropriately spent. Effective financial management helps to safeguard taxpayer money and ensure it is used lawfully, efficiently and effectively for the purposes intended. 30 years ago congress passed the chief financial officers act of 1990, known as the c.f.o. act. This law laid a new foundation for federal financial management. It established a financial management leadership structure, provided for long-range planning, it required audited financial statements, and it strengthened accountability reporting, among other reforms. The c.f.o. act also called for improvement in the integration of agency accounting and financial management systems and in cost information and in our financial management workforce. Since enactment of that act, we’ve seen substantial improvements in federal financial management. Today agencies have c.f.o.’s in place to provide leadership and accountability over financial operations and most agencies receive clean audit opinions on their annual financial statements. However, serious and persistent problems remain. Many agencies have struggled to modernize legacy accounting systems and are unable to integrate their financial and performance data. Oftentimes the federal government is unable to show the relationship between dollars spent and results achieved. After more than 20 years of trying, the government accountability office still cannot give an opinion on the federal government’s consolidated financial statements. They cite serious financial management problems at the department of defense, among other issues. The legislation that we’re introducing would update that 1990 law in a handful of key ways to ensure sustained progress and improving federal financial management. It’s based in large part on a g.a.o., that’s the government accountability office review of the 1990 law and testimony last October from the comptroller general of the united states before the senate budget committee. First the c.f.o. vision act would standardize c.f.o. and deputy chief financial officer responsibilities, which do vary across federal agencies, to allow for better strategic decision making, the chief financial officer vision act would specify that the chief financial officer responsibilities should include budget formulation and execution, planning and performance, risk management and internal controls, financial systems and accounting. The bill would also ensure that the deputy chief financial officers could provide continuity in the event of a chief financial officer vacancy. Major financial management improvement initiatives can take years to implement, potentially outlasting a c.f.o.’s tenure. By establishing appropriate statutory responsibilities for the deputy chief financial officers, the bill would help minimize the effects of the c.f.o. turnover. Secondly, the bill would update the government-wide agency level planning requirements to ensure they are reasonable and allow for proper planning and monitoring. The updated plans would include projected milestones and estimated implementation costs, annual status updates would allow congress to track progress towards these mile milestones and how closely the costs matched those projected. Third, the c.f.o. act would require the office of management and budget would determine the status and progress of agencies and how they are making progress towards achieving cost-effective and efficient government operations. Currently only limited financial management performance based metrics exist, such as the financial statement audit opinion and reporting of identified material weaknesses. All the accountants understand these terms. So currently only limited management performance base metrics exist such as the financial statement audit opinion and the reporting of identified material weaknesses. I could say that a third time and people still wouldn’t understand it. This new requirement would require more complete a consistent measurement of the quality of agencies financial management. These performance metrics would be — metrics would be included to be required to be in the financial plans and status reports. That means we’ll have more information to work with. Finally, our bill would require agency management to annually assess and report on the effectiveness of internal control, whether they are really keeping track of everything and ensuring it is correct so that would be effectiveness of internal control and financial reporting and other key financial management information. Auditors would also be required to independently assess internal controls. Such assessments will improve confidence in the reliability of financial reporting. The c.f.o. vision act builds on the c.f.o. act’s foundation by updating it we can achieve more effective financial management, which i believe will ultimately lead to increased accountability and results and understanding by the senators. I’m pleased that our bill has been endorsed by the national taxpayers union, the project on government oversight, the data collection, the R Street Institute, citizens against government waste, truth in accounting, and taxpayers for common sense. I think that means that there are accountants on the boards of all of those. This shouldn’t be a controversial piece of legislation. It just should be an essential update so we know what’s happening with the trillions of dollars that we’re allocating spending and checking up on. So I urge my colleagues to support this bill and I yield the floor. And I suggest the absence of a quorum.