21st Century Government
to Cut Waste

President Obama and Vice President Biden launch the Campaign to Cut Waste, which will hunt down and eliminate misspent tax dollars in every agency and department across the Federal Government.

Read the executive order

21st Century Government Latest News

  • Accountability in Federal Contracting

    With more than one out of every six dollars of Federal government spending going to contractors, increasing accountability and saving money in contracting is critical to creating a Federal government that is efficient and effective. Last month, President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the Campaign to Cut Waste and issued a new Executive Order on Delivering an Efficient, Effective, and Accountable Government to hunt down misspent tax dollars across the Administration.

    As part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, today, we are announcing that all agencies must cut spending for management support service contracts by 15 percent.  Instead of paying $40 billion for these services, as agencies did in FY 2010, they will reduce spending to $34 billion a year by the end of FY 2012 – a reduction of $6 billion.  

  • Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau Announces Management and Structural Reforms that will Improve Efficiency and Cut Costs

    Today, the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau announced the first realignment of its national field office structure in 50 years and management reforms that will improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance data quality. The changes will take place gradually over the next 18 months and reduce the number of regional offices from 12 to six, saving an estimated $15 million to $18 million annually beginning in 2014. 

    Increasing efficiency, cutting waste and reforming Washington has been a priority for the Obama Administration since day one, and this consolidation supports the administration’s ongoing effort to make government more efficient, effective and accountable to the American people. It also builds on the work of Census Bureau Director Robert Groves and his management team in bringing in the 2010 Census on time and 25 percent under budget, saving nearly $1.9 billion.

  • Nearly 1.4 Million Records

    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 March 2011. Today’s release also includes several visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in May 2011 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the grand total of records that this White House has released to nearly 1.4 million records. You can view them all in our Disclosures section.

    Ed. Note: For more information, check out Ethics.gov.

  • "A 21st Century Regulatory System"

    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.

  • Campaign to Cut Waste: Fighting Fraud and Slashing Errors

    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.

  • Financial Disclosure Reports Now Available

    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.

    The application form to access the reports is available here.