21st Century Government Latest News
- Posted byon June 23, 2011 at 3:08 PM EDT
The White House recently unveiled plans by 30 different federal agencies to make sure that the regulations they enforce are protecting Americans’ health and well-being without imposing unnecessary or excessive costs.
These agencies will rewrite or remove regulations that have been on the books for decades to achieve their goals at lower costs and abolish regulations that have become obsolete. Examples of changes now underway include:
- Removing regulations that require outdated technologies, such as film-X-rays instead of digital.
- Eliminating the regulation requiring some gas stations to install vapor recovery systems on their hoses, because vapor recovery is now built into the gas tanks of cars, saving gas station owners about $670 million over the next decade.
- Eliminating 1.9 million annual hours of redundant reporting requirements at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and harmonizing its hazard classifications with other countries to save $585 million or more per year for employers.
The Administration has committed to completing this thorough review and ensuring that the United States has a regulatory system that protects Americans’ health and well-being, while promoting innovation, competition, and economic prosperity – “A 21st Century Regulatory System.”
Getting rid of outdated regulations and making regulations smarter benefits America. But abolishing all regulation, even the ones that provide important benefits, is not smart. Some regulations are critically important for the country and have benefits that far outweigh the costs.
Take the 1990 changes to the Clean Air Act. The benefits to America have been estimated to outweigh the costs of these rules by a factor of 25. These rules prevented over 150,000 premature deaths, 86,000 emergency room visits, and 13 million lost work days. And that’s just for 2010.
Some regulations, by establishing consumer confidence in an industry, can actually make them better off. It helps the American beef industry thrive, for example, that consumers know that the Department of Agriculture inspects meat for safety. In fact, American beef producers volunteer for the government’s quality grading system, and pay for the privilege.
The administration has been smart about regulations. It conducts a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of individual regulations before they are put into effect and it often opts for lower cost rules when they generate greater net benefits. If you look at the benefits and costs of major regulations issued by this administration in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, the estimated benefits are over five times larger than the estimated costs. The net benefits are over ten times those during the first two years of the Bush Administration, and over three times those during the first two years of the Clinton Administration.
Furthermore, there has been no increase in rulemaking in this Administration. On the contrary, the number of rules issued in the first two years of this Administration is approximately the same as the number of rules issued in the first two years of the Bush Administration.
Some people are throwing around scary numbers about the costs regulations are imposing on the US economy. One group is even claiming that the regulations currently on the books cost the U.S. economy $1.75 trillion in 2008. The Council of Economic Advisers has looked at those claims and the $1.75 trillion figure is utterly erroneous. In fact, their own data (which come from the World Bank) show that countries with smarter regulations have higher standards of living, and the United States has one of the best regulatory systems in the world. And beyond that, their number completely ignores the benefits of regulation.
We must do everything we can to streamline regulation and make it smarter. But we should also not forget that the rules of the road are important for the health, safety and economic growth of the United States.
- Posted byon June 17, 2011 at 3:09 PM EDT
Just days after the White House launch of the Campaign to Cut Waste, an Administration-wide initiative to crack down on unnecessary spending, two federal agencies announced new progress in fighting fraud and cracking down on improper payments.
In a dose of bad news for criminals looking to take advantage of our seniors and defraud Medicare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today they’ll be deploying innovative technology in the fight against Medicare Fraud. Starting July 1, CMS will begin using predictive modeling technology, similar to that used by credit card companies, to identify potentially fraudulent Medicare claims on a nationwide basis, and help stop fraudulent claims before they are paid. This initiative builds on the strides made with the Recovery Act to utilize the kinds of cutting edge tools used by the private sector -- as well as new anti-fraud tools and resources provided by the Affordable Care Act.
- Posted byon June 16, 2011 at 2:30 PM EDT
Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure reports for White House officials are now available. Interested parties may request online those reports they would like to review. Through this streamlined distribution process, each report is available in pdf form for transmission via email once the electronic form has been filed. Requested reports will be emailed as quickly as possible. Please call the press office if you have any questions.
- Posted byon June 14, 2011 at 6:18 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced the “Campaign to Cut Waste” to ensure all cabinet agencies are being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and doing everything they can to make the government more efficient. Since the beginning of this Administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made an unprecedented commitment to efficiency and fiscal discipline in order to best support our frontline operations.
To date, DHS has identified over $1 billion in cost avoidances and cuts as a result of these efforts. Additionally, our fiscal year 2012 budget request included more than $800 million in reductions associated with administrative savings and Efficiency Review initiatives currently underway, from efforts to buy smarter and manage our real estate and space usage more efficiently, to cutting spending on professional services contracts, printing, supplies and materials, travel, and training.
- 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 6:45 PM EDT
June 15th, 2011 marks the 6th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This is an important opportunity for Americans and people around the world to recommit ourselves to ending elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Elder abuse, like domestic violence and child abuse, is a public health crisis that crosses all socio-economic lines. Millions of older Americans are abused, neglected, or exploited each year – often by someone they know – and an estimated 84 percent of these incidents are not reported.
Elder abuse and exploitation is an issue that must be addressed. As Americans enjoy longer lives and the senior population continues to grow, abuse will likely grow with it. And, sadly, during hard economic times the prevalence of financial exploitation increases.