WASHINGTON, DC – This morning, President Obama will sign an Executive Order that will cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the federal government. With this Order, the President is directing agencies to reduce spending on travel; limit the number of information technology devices (e.g. cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops) that can be issued to individual employees; stop unnecessarily printing documents that can be posted online; shrink the executive fleet of the federal government; and stop using taxpayer dollars to buy swag -- the plaques, clothing, and other unnecessary promotional items that agencies purchase. Overall spending in the areas covered by the Executive Order will be reduced by 20 percent, saving billions.
This Executive Order builds on the progress that has already been made through the Campaign to Cut Waste. At President Obama’s direction this Administration has taken up an unprecedented effort to downsize the Federal real estate footprint, and is on track to save $3.5 billion in Federal real estate costs by the end of Fiscal Year 2012. The Administration has cracked down on waste in contracting, cutting contracting spending for the first time in more than a dozen years and slashing spending on “no bid contracts” by $5 billion.
The Executive Order will set bold but achievable goals that are informed by the results of the work of the Campaign to Cut Waste, launched by President Obama and Vice President Biden earlier this year. In September, the Vice President convened the first Cabinet Campaign to Cut Waste meeting and asked the Cabinet to identify wasteful and inefficient spending on travel, executive fleet, publications, office equipment, and other areas. Several of the spending reductions identified by agencies in response to the Vice President’s request are highlighted below. The President’s directive today builds on that work.
In addition to today’s Executive Order signing, the White House will announce this year’s SAVE (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency) Award finalists. The SAVE Award was launched in 2009 to seek ideas from frontline federal employees to make government more effective and efficient and to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. This year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received nearly 20,000 ideas from across the country. To honor these finalists, OMB Director Jack Lew, OMB Deputy Director of Heather Higginbottom, and Federal Chief Performance Officer and OMB’s Deputy Director for Management Jeff Zients will host a video teleconference with the SAVE Award finalists which will be live-streamed at www.WhiteHouse.gov/Save-Award at 11 AM. With the announcement of the four finalists, voting will now begin to select the SAVE Award winner. Anyone can vote for his or her favorite idea on www.WhiteHouse.gov/Save-Award. The winner of this year’s SAVE Award will come to the White House to present their idea to the President.
The four finalists are: Matthew Ritsko, a NASA employee from Maryland, who suggested the creation of a tool “lending library” to avoid duplicative purchases of expensive tools; Eileen Hearty, a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) employee from Colorado, who suggested that it’s unnecessary to travel to inspect superior-rated properties each and every year; Kevin Korzenieski, a Treasury employee in D.C. who suggested that we stop purchasing U.S. Code books for all new attorneys given the availability of the information online; and Faith Stanfield, a Social Security Administration (SSA) employee from Ohio, who suggested SSA stop printing and mailing OASIS magazine – which currently is distributed to nearly 90,000 SSA employees -- and simply make it available online.
“From the day I took office, I’ve said we’re going to comb the federal budget, line by line, to eliminate as much wasteful spending as possible. That’s what the Campaign to Cut Waste is all about. We can’t wait for Congress to act – we can’t wait for them to get our fiscal house in order and make the investments necessary to keep America great. That’s why today, I’m signing an Executive Order that will build on our efforts to cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the government – we’re cutting what we don’t need so that we can invest in what we do need,” said President Obama.
“In September, I asked all Cabinet secretaries to report on wasteful and inefficient spending at their agencies. Certain spending – like purchasing promotional water bottles, paying for unused cell phones, and booking unnecessary travel – is unacceptable. Today’s executive order will stop wasteful spending and make sure we use taxpayer dollars efficiently and responsibly,” said Vice President Biden.
Within 45 days, agencies will develop plans to reduce combined costs in the following areas to 20 percent below Fiscal Year 2010 levels by Fiscal Year 2013.
1) Reduce Spending on Travel and Conferences: The Executive Order directs agencies to decrease travel and conference-related spending. Increasingly, travel will be limited to circumstances where the activity can only be performed away from the employee’s primary office (e.g., a diplomatic mission or enforcement inspection). Employees will continue attending local meetings and conferences in person but expand their use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing technology to participate in meetings or conferences that would normally require travel. If agencies are hosting or sponsoring conferences, they will use conference space controlled by the federal government wherever possible. Each agency will designate a senior-level official to be responsible for reducing travel costs. Examples of steps currently being taken are:
2) Cut Duplicative and Unnecessary Employee Information Technology Devices: Some federal employees are issued more devices (e.g. cell phones, smartphones, laptops, tablet personal computers) than they need to fulfill their duties. In other cases, IT devices are purchased but go unused. The Executive Order directs each agency to limit the number of devices issued to employees and establish new policies to ensure they are not paying for IT equipment that isn’t being used. Examples of steps currently being taken are:
3) End Unnecessary Printing and Put It Online: In the digital age, it is frequently unnecessary to spend money on printed documents in addition to making information available online for the public. The Executive Order directs agencies to provide written information electronically and limit the production of hard copy documents. Examples of steps currently being taken are:
4) Limit Motor Vehicles: The Federal Government spends $9 million per year on vehicles just to shepherd itself around Washington DC. The Executive Order limits executive transportation across the federal government and directs agencies to improve the performance of the Federal fleet. Examples of steps currently being taken are:
5) Stop Swag – or Government Promotional Handouts: The Executive Order directs agencies to stop wasting taxpayer money on non-essential items used for promotional purposes, such as clothing, mugs, and non-work related gadgets.