Obama asks rank and file feds for cost-cutting tips

Capping off a week that began with discussions of fiscal responsibility, President Obama on Saturday devoted his weekly radio address to government reform, calling for an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to making federal operations more efficient.

The administration would like to hear from employees at all levels, Obama said. "We'll look for ideas from the bottom up," he said. "After all, Americans across the country know that the best ideas often come from workers -- not just management."

The president pledged to meet with employees who come up with the best suggestions later this year.

In addition, Obama said he will provide incentives for agencies to eliminate wasteful spending by allowing them to reinvest a portion of the savings in programs that work.

The president also called on Congress to pass legislation introduced by Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind., that would enforce the principle of "pay go," in which any new entitlement program or tax cut must be offset by other spending cuts or revenue increases.

"We cannot meet the challenges of today with old habits and stale thinking," Obama said. "So much of our government was built to deal with different challenges from a different era. Too often, the result is wasteful spending, bloated programs, and inefficient results."

The measures announced on Saturday would supplement efforts already under way to comb through the budget line-by-line in search of programs that don't work or are duplicative. During an April 20 Cabinet meeting, Obama told agency chiefs they must identify a combined $100 million they could eliminate from their administrative budgets during the next three months.

Critics have noted $100 million is trivial compared to the deficit, which by some projections will reach $1.8 trillion for fiscal 2009. But in his address on Saturday, Obama signaled that those cost cuts are just the beginning, noting the line-by-line review is ongoing and that the administration will identify more than 100 programs to cut or eliminate in the coming days and weeks.

Lawmakers might hold Obama to his promises with language in the fiscal 2010 budget blueprint. The Senate version of that legislation, which is in conference negotiations, contains an amendment that would require agencies to report wasteful or outdated programs to Congress and would compel every Senate committee to hold at least one hearing to identify such programs annually. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., on Thursday secured passage of a motion to instruct negotiators to include that language in the final bill.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.