21st Century Government Latest News
- Posted byon January 24, 2012 at 10:39 PM EST
As President Obama spoke tonight, the phrase he returned to again and again was "building an America that lasts."
Right now, a group of policy experts and senior White House staff are discussing the speech and answering your questions on WH.gov/live.
And later tonight, we'll share video of the President's remarks and a transcript so you can read every line.
Be sure to check back.
- Read President Obama's Blueprint for an America Built to Last
- Take a deep dive into the data behind the President’s plan
- Watch the enhanced version of the 2012 State of the Union Address
- Find out how you can talk to Obama Administration officials about the President’s plan
- Video: Go behind the scenes as the President prepared his speech
- Posted byon December 30, 2011 at 3:00 PM EST
In September 2009, the President announced that—for the first time in history—White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in September 2011. Today’s release also includes several visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in November 2011 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 1.9 million records—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Ed. Note: For more information, check out Ethics.gov.
- Posted byon December 6, 2011 at 5:14 PM EST
On September 20, 2011, on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly, the President announced the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan. The Plan was developed through a process that involved extensive consultations with external stakeholders, including a broad range of civil society groups and members of the private sector, to gather ideas on open government. As we continue our work to implement the National Action Plan, we want your help. Specifically, we’d like your input and recommendations on how to improve and help facilitate public participation – your participation – in government.
The United States committed to undertake 26 Open Government initiatives in the National Action Plan, and we are working to implement each of them now. For example, the White House recently announced that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will be the senior U.S. official to lead implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an effort to ensure that taxpayers receive every dollar due for extraction of our natural resources. A major milestone was also reached in the development of an open government platform that will enable governments around the world to stand up their own open government data sites. And just last week, the President fulfilled a commitment made in the National Action Plan to begin a government-wide effort to reform and modernize records management policies and practices.
We are now requesting your assistance with one of the initiatives in the U.S. National Action Plan designed to promote public participation:
Develop Best Practices and Metrics for Public Participation. We will identify best practices for public participation in government and suggest metrics that will allow agencies to assess progress toward the goal of becoming more participatory. This effort will highlight those agencies that have incorporated the most useful and robust forms of public participation in order to encourage other agencies to learn from their examples.”
Given the focus of this initiative, we thought it would be most appropriate to invite you to provide input and ideas on best practices and metrics for public participation, including but not limited to suggestions and recommendations that address the following questions:
- What are the appropriate measures for tracking and evaluating participation efforts in agency Open Government Plans?
- What should be the minimum standard of good participation?
- How should participation activities be compared across agencies with different programs, amounts of regulatory activity, budgets, staff sizes, etc.?
- What are the most effective forms of technology and web tools to encourage public participation, engage with the private sector/non-profit and academic communities, and provide the public with greater and more meaningful opportunities to influence agencies’ plans?
- What are possible mechanisms for agencies to increase the level of diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds brought to bear in their activities and decisions?
- What are the most effective strategies for ensuring that participation is well-informed?
- What are some examples of success stories involving strong public participation, as well as less-than-successful efforts, and what lessons can be drawn from them?
Please send your thoughts to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the web form provided, by January 3, 2012. We will consider your ideas and input as we continue to implement the U.S. National Action Plan and develop this best practices guidance on public participation.
- Posted byon December 6, 2011 at 4:00 PM EST
Ed. Note: This has been cross-posted from the United States Department of Agriculture blog.
In recent years, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps – has demonstrated an exceptional record in program integrity and stewardship of taxpayer dollars. The program currently serves as a bridge to success for over 46 million Americans who are at risk of being hungry when they face challenging economic times. More than half of those who rely on the program are children, elderly or the disabled, and many participants are newly unemployed and never thought they would be living in poverty. The program has never been more important and neither has the need to be a good steward of its dollars. In this vein, President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the Administration’s new Campaign to Cut Waste in government spending in June to eliminate misspent tax dollars and USDA strongly supports this effort.
Today we are reinforcing this commitment, strengthening our resolve to ensure program integrity and working on behalf of American taxpayers to protect the federal investment in SNAP and make sure the program is targeted towards those families who need it the most. While we recognize that fraud occurs relatively infrequently in SNAP, it has great potential to undermine public confidence in government and jeopardize the ability of the program to serve the millions of struggling families who rely on benefits each month.
Thankfully, the vast majority of SNAP recipients are honest people who spend their benefits to meet basic nutritional needs and to put food on the table. Data shows that illegal activity – such as selling benefits to others for cash – only affects roughly one cent on the dollar. Still, we cannot tolerate even the smallest abuse of taxpayer resources. That’s why we have implemented aggressive strategies to continue to improve SNAP integrity.
- Posted byon November 28, 2011 at 12:10 PM EST
Federal records are crucial to documenting the history of our national experience –the problems, the triumphs, and the challenges. They provide a prism through which future generations will view, understand, and learn from the actions of the current generation. A sensible system of records management is the backbone of open government.
For many decades, the framework for records management has been based on an approach developed in the middle of the twentieth century, involving paper and filing cabinets. Things are of course very different today. In the digital age, when many records are made and maintained in electronic form, we have extraordinary opportunities to improve records management. New steps can save money, improve efficiency, promote openness, and increase both accuracy and transparency. They can provide great benefits to posterity.
Today President Obama is taking a historic step -- and the most important step in many decades -- to improve the management of federal records. Delivering on a commitment in the recent Open Government Partnership: National Action Plan for the United States, he is calling for a large-scale transformation in how agencies maintain their records. In the process, he is inaugurating a government-wide effort to reform records management policies and practices.
Today’s Presidential Memorandum requires a number of concrete actions. The new effort calls for reports, by each agency head, describing their current plans for improving records management programs; outlining current obstacles to sound, cost-effective records management policies;and cataloging potential reforms and improvements. The agency reports will inform, and be followed, by a Records Management Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB and the National Archivist. The Directive will focus on maintaining accountability to the American public through documenting agency actions; increasing efficiency (and thus reducing costs); and switching, where feasible, from paper-based records to electronic records. In addition, all statutes, regulations, and policies must be reviewed to improve government-wide practices in records management. In a key provision, the President has required the Director of OMB and the National Archivist to consult with those inside and outside the government – including public stakeholders interested in improving records management and open government.
Today’s action begins a large-scale transformation in how we maintain the backbone of open government. It promises, at once, to save money, to increase accuracy, and to contribute knowledge and perspective to future generations.
- Posted byon November 25, 2011 at 2:00 PM EST
In September 2009, the President announced that – for the first time in history – White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in August 2011. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to almost 1.9 million records—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Ed. Note: For more information, check out Ethics.gov.