OMBlog

  • Salary Statistics

    At a Government Executive breakfast meeting yesterday, I was asked about salaries for federal employees – an issue that has received some attention lately in the popular press.

  • No Gimmick

    The President has insisted since day one that health insurance reform should not add a dime to the deficit. In keeping with this commitment, the President has put forward a health plan that would reduce deficits by roughly $100 billion over the next ten years and by roughly $1 trillion in the decade after that.

  • Education: The Wind at America’s Back

    Today, I spoke to students at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, where I discussed the Administration’s efforts to promote short-term economic recovery, put the nation on a sustainable fiscal trajectory, and make investments to bolster long-term economic growth. I have written here on many occasions about the first two topics covered in today’s talk, so I’ll use this post to delve a bit more into the final topic of making new investments to promote growth —and, in particular, by expanding access to and the quality of education.

  • Welcoming the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

    This morning, the President signed an executive order establishing a new, bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The Commission’s co-chairs – former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson – will bring Republicans and Democrats together to help tackle one of our looming fiscal challenges.

  • OIRA Dashboard Goes Live

    Last week, as snow forced federal offices to close, OMB was hard at work opening up more of the Federal government – at least online. Today, we are debuting the OIRA Dashboard, an easy-to-use website that will allow people to track the progress of federal rules and regulations that have been submitted for interagency review and find other relevant information about the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Putting this information online and in an accessible format is one of the ways that OMB is applying the principles of the Open Government Directive to rulemaking and regulatory policy.

  • A Short History of Deficit Reduction

    It’s been a day since the 2011 Budget was released, and analysts and journalists have written about what it means for individual agencies, specific issues, and states. But let’s not lose sight of the big picture. The President’s Budget represents an important step towards fiscal sustainability: it put forward $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years, even excluding savings from the assumed ramp-down in war funding over time. Including these war savings, the deficit reduction proposed in the President’s Budget rises to $2.1 trillion.

  • A Dialogue on the Recovery Act

    Nearly a year ago, the Congress and the President joined together to enact the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, one of the most sweeping economic recovery efforts in our nation’s history. Since then, and although more steps can and should be undertaken to promote job growth, the Recovery Act has spurred economic activity and thereby helped to avert a depression.

  • Introducing the 2011 Budget

    Today, the President transmitted the FY 2011 Budget to the Congress. In about an hour, he will deliver remarks about the Budget, and after that I will be taking questions from the press with CEA Chair Romer. This post gives readers of OMBlog a brief overview of the document.

  • Facing the Fiscal Facts

    A Wall Street Journal op-ed today by the prior Administration’s CEA Chair, Edward Lazear, observes that the ratio of federal spending-to-GDP has risen by 14 percent since 2008—and that the transition from 2008 to 2009 saw the greatest annual increase in spending in the last 30 years.

  • The First Cuts Are the Deepest

    In May, we released our Terminations, Reductions, and Savings volume. It put forward more than 120 cuts and reductions, totaling $17 billion, to programs that were duplicative, ineffective, or outdated. At the time, cynics said that we’d never be able to eliminate these programs – some of which had been around for decades. And it’s true that every one of the programs has a supporter, and there have been – and will continue to be – vocal and powerful interests that oppose almost any budget cut.

  • Modernizing Government

    This afternoon, I will participate in the White House Forum on Modernizing Government. More than 50 of the nation’s leading CEOS are attending today’s forum, bringing their ideas for how the government can use technology to save money and improve performance.

  • No Illusions

    We are closer than ever before to passing fiscally responsible health reform legislation. So it’s not a surprise that the most reflexively and ideologically partisan commentators are lashing out. Today, it’s the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal.

  • And the winner is...

    Congratulations, Nancy Fichtner, on becoming the first-ever winner of the President’s SAVE Award — a contest for Federal employees to come up with the best idea to save taxpayer dollars and make the government perform more effectively and efficiently. Since voting began on Monday, OMB received 84,670 and her idea was picked from the “final four” as the winner. On Monday, December 21, Nancy will present her idea to President Obama at the White House.

  • Voting Ends Tomorrow!

    As many of you know, earlier this year, President Obama launched the SAVE Award — a program that offered every federal employee the chance to submit ideas about how government can save money and perform better. Over the course of three weeks, federal employees submitted more than 38,000 ideas. Staff at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) assessed the submissions and narrowed them down to the final four ideas presented below.

  • From the Banks of the Danube to the Banks of the Potomac

    During the first decade of the last century when Theodore Roosevelt sat in the Oval Office, my great-grandparents emigrated from Hungary to the United States. On Friday, in the first decade of this century, I sat in the Roosevelt Room – adorned with a portrait of the Rough Rider – for a fascinating meeting with the Prime Minister of Hungary.

  • Promoting Transparency in Government

    On his very first day in office, President Obama signed a memorandum to all federal agencies directing them to break down barriers to transparency, participation, and collaboration between the federal government and the people it is to serve.

    On his very first day in office, President Obama signed a memorandum to all federal agencies directing them to break down barriers to transparency, participation, and collaboration between the federal government and the people it is to serve. 
     
    As an example of the steps taken in response, the White House, for the first time ever, now publishes the names of visitors. We are also publishing online never-before-available data about federal spending and research. At Data.gov, for instance, what started as 47 data sets from a small group of federal agencies has grown into more than 118,000 today – with thousands more ready to be released starting this week.  And in March, the Attorney General published updated FOIA guidelines, establishing a presumption in favor of voluntary disclosure of government information – an important step toward enabling the American people to see how their government works for them.  There have been other advancements, from providing online access to White House staff financial reports and salaries, adopting a tough new state secrets policy, reversing an executive order that previously limited access to presidential records, and web-casting White House meetings and conferences. 
     
    By themselves, however, these steps do not provide the transformation in the philosophy of governing that the President wants. They are improvements over past practice, to be sure, and valuable ones.  But more needs to be done.
     
    That is why, at the end of May, the Administration launched the Open Government Initiative (OGI). This unique outreach effort, led by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, sparked a never-before-seen collaboration between the public and the government.  We asked questions, and you provided answers.  We responded, and you offered alternatives.  By the end of the three-month outreach period, tens of thousands of Americans participated, and thousands of ideas were generated.
     
    Since the OGI outreach ended, we’ve been pouring over the suggestions.  We’ve talked with outside experts.  We’ve evaluated and re-evaluated the steps we want to implement government-wide.  And as a result, today we are releasing the Open Government Directive and the Open Government Progress Report to the American People.
     
    The directive, sent to the head of every federal department and agency today, instructs the agencies to take specific actions to open their operations to the public.  The three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration are at the heart of this directive.  Transparency promotes accountability.  Participation allows members of the public to contribute ideas and expertise to government initiatives.  Collaboration improves the effectiveness of government by encouraging partnerships and cooperation within the federal government, across levels of government, and between the government and private institutions.

  • Health Care Reform as a Journey, not a Destination

    Atul Gawande — surgeon and journalist — once again writes a trenchant article examining a key question about health reform: in particular, how can we improve care and reduce costs? Gawande’s answer: there is no single, right answer.

  • The SAVE Award Final Four

    At the end of September, OMB launched the President’s SAVE Award – a contest for federal employees to come up with the best idea to save taxpayer dollars and make the government perform more effectively and efficiently.

  • CBPP: Savings Will Stick

    One of the criticisms leveled by skeptics of health insurance reform is that the hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare savings being proposed won’t actually be implemented since efforts to cut waste never stick. "Congress is notorious for passing Medicare savings, and then after the cuts take place and the political groups get activated, we restore all the money," one Republican congressman told the Wall Street Journal last month.

  • An Insightful Article on Health Care Costs

    For those skeptical about the ability to restrain health care cost growth in heath reform, read Ron Brownstein’s latest article on how the bills now being considered in Congress would transform the health care system so that it delivers better care to more Americans at far less cost.