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OMB Proposes Grants Management Reforms

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OMB has proposed a set of administrative reforms for the more than $600 billion awarded annually for grants and other types of federal financial assistance.

The proposal, "Proposed Uniform Guidance: Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards," combines multiple federal regulations currently governing grants administration into a single policy guide with the intention of eliminating unnecessary and duplicative requirements among other benefits.

Measures in the proposal include:

* Harmonizing and streamlining all OMB guidance on grants from eight documents into one, while clarifying key differences for different entities;

* Simplifying the reporting requirements that grantees must adhere to in justifying salaries and wages charged to grants;

* Ensuring that federal agencies better review financial risk posed by applicants and merits of an application before providing a grant;

* Providing guidance to ensure robust oversight of sub-recipients;

* Focusing more audit resources on preventing waste, fraud, and abuse; and,

* Holding agencies accountable for getting results and addressing weaknesses among grant recipients.

The proposal in part reflects comments OMB received after publishing potential grant reform ideas in the Federal Register a year ago. It is soliciting additional feedback at regulsations.gov (reference: docket OMB-2013-0001).