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Recommendation to OMB

OMB recognizes the problems associated with the lead agency policy and
we are making ongoing efforts to clarify the appropriate NBS role in
various measurement programs. We will continue to interact closely
with NBS and other agency officials to see that program decisions and
funding allocations are made on an equitable basis. However, it is not
clear that interagency meetings are best held when the budget request
is under review, particularly when small amounts of funding are
involved. Rather, we would encourage NBS and the agencies involved to
work out a program before the budget process at OMB is underway and to
establish interagency Tong-range agreements which will ensure both that
the lead agency's needs are met and that NBS can expect some continuity
in its programs.
Recommendation to the Congress

We are concerned by the recommendation to the Congress that the NBS
Organic Act be amended to read "shall" or "will" for authorizing
certain NBS activities. This could cause confusion within NBS' current
programs and possible duplication with other agency activities. While
it may be appropriate to take such action in the authorization of new
programs or responsibilities, we would not support changes in the
Organic Act at this time.

Sincerely,

John P. White
Deputy Director

GAO note:

The page numbers referred to in the letter do
not correspond with the page numbers in the
report. Revisions as suggested have been made
where appropriate, including the comments fur-
nished by EPA. OMB's comments on GAO's proposed
recommendations are discussed on pp. 13 and 14
of the report.

(066020)

*U.S, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1980- 620-386/60

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