21st Century Government Latest News
- Posted byon August 18, 2011 at 6:33 PM EDT
Ed note: The information on this graphic was updated on March 13, 2012
Creating a judicial pool for the 21st Century, one with intellect, fair-mindedness and integrity that resembles the nation that it serves, is a top priority for President Obama and his administration. In fact, the President’s nominations for federal judges embody an unprecedented commitment to expanding the racial, gender and experiential diversity of the men and women who enforce our laws and deliver justice.
Unfortunately, the delays these nominees are encountering on Capitol Hill are equally unprecedented: earlier this month, the Senate left for its August recess without considering 20 eminently qualified candidates, 16 of whom had passed through the bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee completely unopposed, a development the Washington Post called “not only frustrating but also destructive” in an editorial published yesterday.
The victims of these delays, of course, are the American citizens who are being denied the fair and timely judicial proceedings they deserve because of the chronic shortage of federal judges on the bench. Stephen Zack, president of the American Bar Association, told Senate leaders in a recent letter that the abundance of vacant federal judgeships “create strains that will inevitably reduce the quality of our justice system and erode public confidence in the ability of the courts to vindicate constitutional rights or render fair and timely decisions.”
To better understand how the Senate delays are impacting American families and businesses, take a look at our infographic that explains the confirmation process and highlights the bottleneck.
- Posted byon August 8, 2011 at 4:08 PM EDT
Over the last two and a half years, President Obama has demonstrated a strong commitment to making government information more accessible to the public and to involving citizens in decisions that affect their lives. The resulting commitment to “Open Government” has spurred a wide range of initiatives. Most recently, the United States has worked with many other nations to create an Open Government Partnership that will promote that commitment around the world.
Since taking office, the President has directed his Administration to take significant steps to make the federal government more efficient and effective through three guiding principles: transparency, participation, and collaboration. In his January 2009 Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, the President instructed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue an Open Government Directive requiring agencies to release data to the American people that they “can readily find and use.” With the help of the public, agencies produced detailed Open Government Plans to take specific steps and to establish long-term goals to achieve greater openness and transparency. These plans are located on agency home pages at [agency domain].gov/open. With direct input from the American people, agency plans continue to evolve and improve.
As agencies developed their Open Government Plans, we also made unprecedented amounts of information available to the public, in part through a centralized government platform, data.gov. This platform now provides the public with access to hundreds of thousands of agency data sets on a broad range of issues -- from crime, air quality, and budgetary matters, to automobile safety seats, airline performance, weather patterns, and product recalls.
The Administration’s Open Government efforts are now taking on an international flavor with the multi-national Open Government Partnership, which Secretary Clinton recently announced. As Secretary Clinton stated, “We believe this new global effort to improve governance, accelerate economic growth, and empower citizens worldwide is exactly what we should all be doing together in the 21st century.”
- Posted byon August 4, 2011 at 11:09 AM EDT
The President’s announcement today that Steven VanRoekel will be our nation’s next CIO comes at an important moment for our nation. As OMB works closely with the President and Vice President on the Campaign to Cut Waste, information technology (IT) is at the center of our efforts to save money, eliminate waste, and do more with less.
Over the last two and a half years, the Administration has made unprecedented strides (PDF) in transforming how the government manages and uses information technology to deliver results for the American people. From moving to more efficient cloud solutions and shutting down hundreds of duplicative data centers to reducing planned IT spending by $3 billion and bringing unprecedented transparency to IT spending. That progress has been the direct result of having a President who recognizes the opportunity to harness advances in technology to make government work better and more efficiently for the American people. That’s why President Obama appointed the nation’s first Federal Chief Information Officer to implement the Administration’s technology reform agenda.
- Posted byon August 2, 2011 at 10:01 AM EDT
Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
Leigh Budlong is an accidental technologist. After years of experience struggling to make sense of the myriad of zoning rules associated with commercial real estate, often with real implications for entrepreneurs looking to start a new business, she decided to solve the problem by launching a new service. Her award-winning ZonabilitySF app is fueled by open government data, a valuable (public) resource at the center of a movement directed by the President on his first full day in office and replicated by dozens of Governors, Mayors, and even foreign leaders to make it more accessible.
Waldo Jaquith used his free time to facilitate a more open government. Despite long hours at his day job, Waldo found the time to launch Richmond Sunlight, a volunteer-run site that keeps track of the Virginia legislature, including manually uploading hundreds of hours of CSPAN-inspired video of floor speeches, tagging relevant information on bills and committee votes, and inviting the public to comment on any particular legislation. He solicits feedback, introduces new products and services, and encourages others to participate. In short, he embodies the spirit that drives the Internet economy – “rough consensus, running code.”
- Posted byon July 29, 2011 at 6:39 PM EDT
In September 2009, the President announced that – for the first time in history – the White House would routinely release visitor records. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in April 2011. Today’s release also includes several visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in June 2011 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the grand total of records that this White House has released to over 1.5 million records. You can view them all in our Disclosures section.
Ed. Note: For more information, check out Ethics.gov.
- Posted byon July 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM EDT
For too long the federal government allowed billions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted on things that are inefficient, unnecessary, or just plain dumb. That’s why from day one, President Obama has been steadfast in his commitment to creating a government that is fully accountable to the citizens that it serves. Through efforts such as the Campaign to Cut Waste, OMB and the federal agencies are changing the way Washington does business and aggressively hunting down and eliminating misspent tax dollars across the federal government.
Today marks another important step in this pursuit, as we are announcing the launch of the new Government Accountability and Transparency Board (GATB). The President has named a group of the federal government’s top waste, fraud, and abuse watchdogs and other agency leaders to this Board. Starting with the first meeting this morning, these leaders are developing plans to enhance transparency in federal spending and root out and stop waste, fraud, and abuse in federal programs.
This new Board, established in last month’s Executive Order on “Delivering an Efficient, Effective and Accountable Government,” will draw on the lessons learned from our work to track stimulus spending under the Recovery Act. The GATB will provide the strategic direction necessary to make the President’s vision for transparency and accountability in all Federal spending a reality.
Under the tireless leadership of the Vice President, the Administration took this vision for transparency and accountability and applied it to the Recovery Act. We got stimulus money out the door quickly yet responsibly. We made sure that Recovery Act recipients reported back to the American people on how projects were progressing, and put this information up for all to see and scrutinize on Recovery.gov. And we worked with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to keep fraud and waste at historically low levels and make sure that funds went to the right people and for right purposes. In doing so, we learned a number of indispensable lessons about how government should conduct its business in the 21st century.
Our challenge now is to put these lessons to use across the federal government, and that is where the GATB comes in. The Board will recommend a broad range of strategies to make spending data more reliable and accessible to the American people. They will also make recommendations to broaden the Administration’s use of cutting edge technology to crack down on fraud, and focus on integrating data systems and using data for better decision-making. In doing so, the Board will offer a comprehensive vision for the management of federal spending that will fundamentally change how government works. And it will ensure that this vision is executed in the most cost-effective, efficient and logical manner.
To make sure we get it right from day one, the President has tapped Earl Devaney, a driving force behind the success of the Recovery Act through his leadership at the Recovery Board, to be the interim chair of this new effort. Today, Chairman Devaney and the members of the GATB sat down and began strategizing how to reform the way we collect, display and analyze government spending data. This Administration has already made tremendous strides in making government more open and cracking down on wasteful or fraudulent spending, and now we’re kicking it into high gear.
The President has designated the following individuals to serve on the GATB:
• Earl E. Devaney – Chairman, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board
• Ashton B. Carter – Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Department of Defense
• W. Scott Gould – Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs
• Allison C. Lerner – Inspector General, National Science Foundation
• Daniel R. Levinson – Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services
• Ellen Murray – Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Health and Human Services
• Calvin L. Scovel III – Inspector General, Department of Transportation
• Kathleen S. Tighe – Inspector General, Department of Education
• Daniel I. Werfel – Controller, Office of Management and Budget
• David C. Williams – Inspector General, United States Postal Service
• Neal S. Wolin – Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury
Jeff Zients is the Deputy Director for Management and Chief Performance Officer.