Russell Vought and Craig Leen shared their priorities as nominees for the permanent director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), respectively, at a June 2 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing.

After Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., briefly described the roles and candidates up for consideration, Ranking Member Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., described the importance of confirming permanent leaders to both posts.

“They are both very challenging roles, certainly under any circumstances,” Peters said, “but as our country faces an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, we need a Federal government that works strategically and effectively and that puts the American people first.”

As Vought has already served OMB as acting director for over a year, he shared his current and upcoming strategies for agency success. He said that he works “to create a culture not of siloes but of collaborators so that the best expertise can be heard.”

Vought added that he was committed to continuing to report to Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee if he takes on the position in a permanent capacity and work with agencies such as the Government Accountability Office as necessary.

When Leen testified, he clearly listed his main priorities as OPM inspector general, including closing open recommendations, creating a dashboard to address progress, cutting down on improper payments, and learning from the pandemic.

In a discussion of these priorities, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., reminded Leen that the agency still has several open recommendations from the 2015 data breach that exposed the records of over 20 million people. The senator asked if completing those recommendations will be one of Leen’s focuses and Leen promised that IT will be a top priority.

“The data breach was a catastrophe and is something that can’t happen again,” he said. “Many of the open recommendations go to IT and security issues. They will be a top priority for me.”

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.