OMBlog

  • Introducing the SAVE Award

    Some of the best ideas come from those working on the frontlines, so today OMB is launching 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. Federal employees will be able to submit their ideas, securely and confidentially, at www.SaveAward.gov. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, October 14. The winner will meet with President Obama and have his or her idea incorporated into the FY 2011 Budget. (We also will recognize the agency with the highest participation rate so make sure your co-workers enter too!).

  • Regulatory Mussel

    Many things come across my desk at OMB. To offer a flavor: the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at OMB just completed review of a proposed rule from the U.S. Coast Guard that would establish a new, protective standard for ballast water discharge from vessels in U.S. waters. The rule would represent a significant step toward protecting our waters from the spread of invasive species.

  • Marshalling Memories

    18 years ago, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime by the Marshall Commission to study at the London School of Economics. Tonight, I was able to meet the extraordinary group of this year’s winners as well as the American winners of this year’s Gates scholarships. It was a great reception at the British Embassy (hosted by Ambassador and Mrs. Sheinwald), and for those interested in how my Marshall interview went and my advice to this year’s winners, my remarks are here.

  • On Norms

    I have spoken in the past about the often substantial role of social norms and "contagions" in our health and other behavior. This week’s New York Times Magazine has a fascinating article summarizing the research debate about the role of friends and family in affecting our behavior.

  • The Head of the Cass

    Just a few minutes ago, the Senate confirmed Cass Sunstein to serve as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at OMB. All of OMB and the rest of the Obama Administration appreciates the Senate’s support and for securing smart, effective leadership at the top of our regulatory division.

  • Counting the Uninsured: 46 Million or “More than 30 Million”?

    Last night, President Obama stated: "We are the only democracy—the only advanced democracy on Earth—the only wealthy nation—that allows such hardship for millions of its people. There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage."

  • The Ingenuity of the American People

    On May 21, 2009 the Administration launched data.gov to drive transparency and innovation by making federal data easily accessible. This was immediately followed by the Apps for America contest, challenging the American people to develop innovative solutions using data.gov. The contest was run by the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on “using the revolutionary power of the Internet to make information about Congress and the federal government more meaningfully accessible to citizens.”

  • Banneker students: A shining example

    Today as the President delivered his back to school message to students, I had the privilege to meet with students at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, a public high school here in the District. (The school is named after a famous African American astronomer and mathematician, who published a series of almanacs in the late 18th century and corresponded with Thomas Jefferson about the cruelty of slavery.) Banneker has an impressive 100 percent graduation rate and college enrollment rate – and thus offers an inspiring example of overcoming multiple barriers to educational success.

  • Saving for Retirement – Making It Easy and Simple

    One of the most compelling examples of the explanatory power of behavioral economics is the sometimes dramatic effects of small changes in making it easier to save for retirement. In this morning’s weekly address, the President highlighted four proposals to do just that.

  • The Recovery Act at 200 Days

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act marked its 200th day on Tuesday. What are outside analysts saying about its impact?

  • Mid-Session Review

    Today, OMB released the Mid-Session Review (MSR) which updates the Administration’s economic forecast, last done in February, and its budget projections.

  • Another Look at IMAC

    Yesterday, a group of some of the most distinguished health economists in the country sent a letter to the President and Congress in support of the Administration’s proposal for the establishment of an independent board of doctors and health experts to guide Medicare policy. This Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC) would make recommendations on Medicare reimbursement policy and other reforms – playing a critical role in allowing health care policy to adjust flexibly to a dynamic health care market, thereby helping contain costs and improve quality over time.

  • Werfel Gets the Nod

    Today, I am proud to announce that the President will nominate Danny Werfel to be the new Controller of OMB’s Office of Federal Financial Management (OFFM). Danny is currently Deputy Controller and in this capacity has served as Acting Controller during this critically important transition. His leadership in implementing the Recovery Act is just one example of his stellar work over many years – work that led the Administration to recognize what those who have worked with him have known for years: Danny’s an extraordinarily able public servant.

  • Meeting the $100 Million Savings Challenge

    Getting the most from our taxpayer dollars requires ongoing attention and effort. That’s why at the President’s first Cabinet meeting on April 20, he called on Cabinet members to identify at least $100 million in collective cuts to their administrative budgets, separate and apart from those identified in FY 2010 Budget. In a memo that Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu and I sent to the President, we report that agencies have identified 77 cost-saving measures that meet these criteria – amounting to $243 million in savings through 2010 and $265 million including savings in the out-years. Of this, about $102 million would be realized in FY 2009, and about $140 million would be saved in FY 2010.

  • Closing Lobbyist Loopholes

    The President believes that a piece of legislation as important as the Recovery Act must be implemented with an unprecedented degree of transparency. That is why, in March, he imposed substantial limits on lobbyists in their communications with the Federal government about the Recovery Act. He also ordered OMB to evaluate agencies’ actual experiences with the restrictions in the first 60 days and then recommend whether any modifications were needed. That review resulted in a decision to tighten the restrictions and, on Friday, OMB updated the formal guidance on Recovery Act communications with lobbyists.

  • CBO and IMAC

    This morning, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyzed proposals to shift more decision-making out of politics and toward a body like the Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC) put forward by the Administration. CBO noted that this type of approach could lead to significant long-term savings in federal spending on health care and that the available evidence implies that a substantial share of spending on health care contributes little, if anything, to the overall health of the nation.

  • Data.gov Surpasses 100,000 Datasets

    Today, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra announced that the number of datasets on Data.gov has increased from 47 to more than 100,000 – with new sets being added continuously.

  • A New Foundation

    Today, in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, I spoke about economic recovery and rebuilding a path towards sustained and broadly shared prosperity. I emphasized two aspects of the Administration’s economic plan: the passage and implementation of the Recovery Act and the need for health care reform this year.

  • Calendar Clarity

    Our upcoming release of the mid-session review (MSR) in August has sparked some speculation. But any speculation about timing games ignores recent history.

  • IMAC, UBend

    Game-changers are appropriately on people’s minds as the work on health care continues on Capitol Hill. By now, close readers of the blog know that the Administration wants to make health care reform deficit neutral and bend the health care cost growth curve down in years to come. Both are critical to our fiscal future, and the latter is especially important in order to put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path.