National Partnership for Reinventing Government
Recognizing the election of a new Congress in Fall 1994 as an opportunity to promote change, President Clinton asked Vice President Gore to launch Phase II of reinvention. By this point, agencies reported that they had implemented one-third of the original recommendations that locked in $58 billion of the originally anticipated $108 billion in total savings. The emphasis of Phase II was on what government should be doing, but also included additional reforms to make the government work better. By September 1995, NPR had made approximately 200 new recommendations with an estimated savings impact of nearly $70 billion over a five-year period.
Specific Phase II initiatives included:
In an introduction to the Phase II report, Common Sense Government, author Philip K. Howard said this report boldly announces a strategy to reverse direction toward a government which, whatever its regulatory goals, will be able to serve American citizens instead of crushing us under rigid and often incomprehensible dictates. By laying aside political bickering, this nonpartisan plan holds the key to alleviating the frustration of Americans of every interest and philosophy. 8
By early 1996, the Administration’s commitment to produce a balanced
federal budget came to the forefront as the government faced declining fiscal
resources. This meant that agencies would be called upon to again reduce
resources – not in the name of reinvention but due to fiscal constraints. Vice
President Gore recognized that agencies needed help responding to these
impending resource cuts. Therefore, he proposed new strategies for how the
Administration could responsibly govern in a balanced budget world. These strategies included:
The Vice President concluded his proposals by noting that “if we do all these things we can balance the budget and protect the priorities of the American people. If we don’t do these things, we’ll balance the budget anyway, but ordinary people could suffer and trust in public institutions could further erode.” 9
In late 1996, toward the end of the first Clinton-Gore Administration, NPR re-assessed the overall status of reinvention in government. Although many improvements had come about, it was apparent that many federal employees still didn't really know or understand the core principles underlying reinvention. NPR saw a disconnect between the senior and middle managers on one hand and frontline employees on the other. Frontline employees of managers who did not support reinvention had no idea about the improved flexibility and changes that had been made by Congress, the White House or their own agencies. This assessment spurred a shift in the focus of reinvention and changed the scope of NPR's efforts.