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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Shovel-Ready Agency Funds


Rolled into the Obama administration's jobs and deficit-cutting blitz is an effort to boost the economy by accelerating agency spending of quickly depleting stimulus money.

In a little-noticed memo to agencies on Thursday, Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew called on agencies to speed their discretionary grant money out the door because, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the 2009 stimulus raised real GDP by as much as 2.5 percent, lowered the unemployment rate by as much as 1.6 percent, and increased the number of people employed by nearly 3 million.

"Nearly 85 percent of Recovery funds have now been paid out, and the vast majority of remaining funds have already been obligated for projects that communities are counting on for job creation," Lew wrote. "Despite the rapid pace of spending of Recovery Act funds over the past 30 months, there remain billions in discretionary Recovery Act funds that, although they have been obligated, have not yet been outlayed."

The deadline for agencies to act? Sept. 30, 2013 -- nine months into the next presidential term.

Charles S. Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books, and organizational media strategies.

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