The White House Blog: The Vice President
- Posted byon June 13, 2011 at 7:28 PM EDT
Watch the Vice President's full remarks here.
Today, the Vice President hosted an event at the White House where he announced that the President has asked him to take on a new role holding the Cabinet accountable for cutting waste in their agencies as part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to make government more accountable to the American people.
“For too long the federal government has allowed billions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted on inefficiencies,” said Vice President Biden. “Over the last two years, we have been slashing waste across government and today we are putting Washington on notice: the President and I are committed to changing the way government works and we are stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars.”
The Vice President was joined for the announcement by Lew, Zients, and chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board Earl Devaney, along with several agency Inspectors General, Chief Financial Officers, Deputy Secretaries, and additional Administration officials.
At the event, the Vice President outlined two new steps the government would be taking as part of an Executive Order establishing the Campaign to Cut Waste that the President signed this morning. The Executive Order creates a new Government Accountability and Transparency Board that will bring together the nation’s top waste, fraud and abuse watchdogs to ensure we bring the kind of unprecedented transparency and accountability we saw in the Recovery Act to all federal spending, and secondly it directs Cabinet members to report regularly on their progress in cutting waste and improving effectiveness.
Over the past two years, we have begun to change how Washington does business and saved billions of taxpayer dollars. We’re demanding a better deal for taxpayers by cutting back on no-bid contracts and making businesses compete, going line by line through the budget looking for wasteful or duplicative programs to cut, and stopping billions of government payments from going to the wrong people, including dead people, prisoners, or fraudsters. We’ve also done simple, but common sense things, like saving millions of dollars each year by ending the printing and shipping of Federal Registers that people already read online.
Still, we need to do more. Today, taxpayers foot the bill for thousands of vacant and unneeded federal properties that because of politics and red tape can’t be sold or disposed of. We’ve got a proposal before Congress to change that by setting up an independent commission to cut through the bureaucracy and bring the property to the market, saving taxpayer dollars $15 billion.
Additionally, as one of the campaign’s first steps, the Administration will be targeting duplication and waste among federal websites. There are almost 2,000 separate websites across the Federal Government. With so many separate sites, Americans often do not know where to turn for information. We’re putting a halt to the creation of any new websites, and will eliminate more than half over the next year.
Cutting waste and reforming Washington has been a priority for this Administration since day one, and with today’s announcement we are bringing an unprecedented level of accountability to make the government more efficient and more responsive to the America people.
P.S.: In case you missed it, President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the Campaign to Cut Waste in a joint video messageto the American people.
- Posted byon June 13, 2011 at 2:50 PM EDT
As the President points out in this video, our government doesn’t need a website dedicated to foresters who play the fiddle. We also don’t need multiple sites dealing with invasive plants (here and here). And I‘m pretty sure the website dedicated to the Centennial of Flight can come down... particularly since the Centennial was in 2003.
As President Obama has said, we can’t win the future with a government of the past. How our government uses the internet to communicate and deliver services is an obvious and critical part of this modernization effort.
Today, there are nearly 2,000 top-level federal .gov domains (this means a top-level url, [WEBSITENAME].gov, that links to a distinct website). This includes WhiteHouse.gov, as well as others like USDA.gov, USASpending.gov, NOAA.gov and USA.gov. Under many of these domains are smaller sub-sites and microsites resulting in an estimated 24,000 websites of varying purpose, design, navigation, usability, and accessibility.
While many government websites each deliver value to the taxpayer through easy-to-use services and information, an overall online landscape of literally thousands of websites – each focusing on a specific topic or organization – can create confusion and inefficiency.
- Posted byon June 13, 2011 at 1:44 PM EDT
Today, Vice President Joe Biden sent the email below to the White House email list announcing the new Campaign to Cut Waste - an effort to root out wasteful spending at every agency and department in the Federal Government.
If you didn't get the email, be sure to sign up for the White House email list.
Did you know that the government spends millions to maintain buildings that have sat vacant for years? Or that your tax dollars pay to needlessly ship copies of the Federal Register to thousands of government offices across the country even though the same information is available online?
And I bet you didn't know that your tax dollars pay for a website dedicated to the Desert Tortoise. I'm sure it's a wonderful species, but we can't afford to have a standalone site devoted to every member of the animal kingdom. It's just one of hundreds of government websites that should be consolidated or eliminated.
This kind of waste is just unacceptable. Particularly at a time when we’re facing tough decisions about reducing our deficit, it's a no-brainer to stop spending taxpayer dollars on things that benefit nobody.
That’s why President Obama asked me to head up the Campaign to Cut Waste—a new effort to root out wasteful spending at every agency and department in the Federal Government.
Like millions of American families, the Federal Government has to take a hard look at spending and live within its means. Most of these cuts we’re going to make are small. They won’t close our deficit or solve all of our fiscal problems. However, no amount of waste is acceptable, and these cuts will add up over time. This year alone we’ve found $33 billion in savings, but we know there’s a lot more work to be done.
When we passed the Recovery Act back in 2009, President Obama insisted that we use that program to set a new standard in government transparency and accountability. And he appointed me as “Sheriff Joe” to make sure the job gets done.
Now, there were a lot of naysayers back then who said that there was no way we could implement the Recovery Act without massive waste, fraud and abuse.
You know what? They were wrong. Thanks to our diligence (and some help from advanced computer models and sophisticated data analysis), the Recovery Act has had an unprecedentedly low level of fraud, with less than 0.6% of all awards experiencing any waste or abuse.
There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t apply these same principles and techniques to all government spending.
And that’s exactly what I intend to do with the help of a new Government Accountability and Transparency Board, a group composed of independent inspectors general and high-level agency officials who will help me root out waste, fraud and abuse across the government. Helping me ensure that your tax dollars are being spent on things that matter, like investments in education, innovation and improving our infrastructure.
So, folks, we’re changing the way your government does business (and spends your hard-earned tax dollars), and I think you’re going to like the results.
Vice President Joe Biden
P.S. If you’re interested in keeping up with our progress in hunting down wasteful spending, you can sign up for regular email updates.
- Posted byon June 13, 2011 at 9:21 AM EDT
Ed. Note: At 11:00 AM, the Vice President will make an announcement regarding the Administration’s ongoing effort to make government more accountable to the American people. Watch the event live at www.whitehouse.gov/live.
In a video message, President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the Campaign to Cut Waste today, which will hunt down and eliminate misspent tax dollars in every agency and department across the federal government. “Targeting waste and making government more efficient have been a priority for my administration since day one. But as we work to tackle the budget deficit, we need to step up our game,” said the President in the video, “No amount of waste is acceptable – not when it’s your money; not at a time when so many families are already cutting back.”
- Posted byon June 10, 2011 at 9:33 AM EDT
On Friday, June 3rd, His Holiness Benedict XVI received Vice President Joe Biden at the Vatican.
- Posted byon June 7, 2011 at 8:48 AM EDT
This morning, the President and First Lady will welcome Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany to the White House for an Official Visit. Watch events live on WhiteHouse.gov all day and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #statevisit.
- Posted byon June 6, 2011 at 7:21 PM EDT
Today President Obama convened a monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his national security team. Check out the readout from the meeting and photo below.
- Posted byon June 5, 2011 at 4:44 PM EDT
Yesterday, my husband and I were honored to visit with some of our service members and their families at the Navy’s Capodichino base in Naples, Italy. I was proud to be there as Second Lady of the United States, but I was even more proud to be there as a military mom.
We were there for a simple reason, and that was to say thank you.
On a daily basis, each of these men and women show us what words like service, strength, and sacrifice really mean. Our military families serving in the United States and around the world are truly inspiring, and they need to know that everyone at home appreciates all that they do for our nation.
The First Lady and I are working hard through our Joining Forces initiative to make sure that every American understands the sacrifices that our service members and their families are making for the security of this nation. And we’re encouraging all Americans to find ways to give back in any way they can.
President Obama on the Passing of Lawrence Eagleburger: “Our Nation Has Lost a Distinguished Diplomat and Public Servant”Posted byon June 4, 2011 at 5:17 PM EDT
On the passing of former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, President Obama and Vice President Biden released the following statements:
Statement by the President:
With the passing of former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, our nation has lost a distinguished diplomat and public servant. Through more than four decades of service, first in the Army and then as a dedicated foreign service officer and statesman, Lawrence Eagleburger devoted his life to the security of our nation and to strengthening our ties with allies and partners. As Deputy Secretary and then Secretary of State under President George H. W. Bush, he helped our nation navigate the pivotal days during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Our nation is grateful for Secretary Eagleburger’s lifetime of service, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially his three sons.
And a statement by the Vice President:
- Posted byon May 28, 2011 at 4:00 AM EDT
Vice President Joe Biden delivers the Weekly Address, celebrating the success of the American auto industry in the wake of Chrysler paying back their loans.