The Blueprint for Accountability recognizes that the president has the power to create a government that is both responsive to and representative of the public—and demands that whoever sits in the Oval Office take steps to do so.
Beginning in early 2020, nearly two dozen organizations came together to work on setting an agenda for a more accountable government. What united them was not a partisan political agenda but the belief that our democratic institutions must be more accountable to the public they serve. Over the months that followed, dozens more organizations joined together to create an agenda that advances accountability. The fruits of their efforts are concrete proposals that President Biden began to put in place following his inauguration on January 20, 2021.
But what is an accountable government? For those who contributed to the Blueprint for Accountability, previously known as Accountability 2021, it is a government that is both responsive to and representative of the public. It means the people have access to all government information necessary to hold the government accountable—not just the information those in power wish to disclose for political purposes. It means that the rule of law applies to public servants and that there will be consequences for those who violate the rules. It means that decision-making will consider all perspectives, not just those of the powerful or well-connected, and that the public has a voice in the process. And it means that when the government acts, outcomes are not dictated by whether one lives in a red state or a blue state, or one’s economic status, race, ethnicity, religion or gender; rather it acts in the best interest of the country and its people.
The Blueprint for Accountability recognizes that the president has the power to create a more accountable government and demands that he take steps to do so. By encouraging agencies to use compliance mechanisms, hire qualified personnel and request budgets sufficient to ensure they can fulfill their mandates, the president can rebuild an ecosystem where our institutions truly act in the public interest. No single effort can remedy all of the ways our democratic institutions fail the people they are supposed to serve. However, if the president takes steps outlined here (and urges Congress to codify many of these recommendations), he can progress towards creating a government of, by and for the people.
The recommendations in Blueprint for Accountability are guided by five key principles that fall into broad categories that reflect much of what is necessary to create a responsive government: Open Government, Ethics, Balance of Power, Whistleblowers, Responsive Government, and Pandemic Preparedness and Response.