• 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.

  • Surpasses 100,000 Datasets

    Today, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra announced that the number of datasets on 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.

  • Airing Differences

    Today, the Administration sent a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010. It emphasizes the President’s commitment to spend taxpayer dollars on what is needed to keep our country safe and secure — and not on programs that are unnecessary or ineffective. To that end, the President made clear that he would veto any bill that supports acquiring more F-22 fighter aircraft beyond the 187 already funded by Congress.

  • America’s Children

    I have written before about the economic and social imperative of expanding access to education and improving the quality of health care while slowing cost growth. Today, a new report, “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009” was issued by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Unfortunately, this report makes clear that more work remains to be done when it comes to children’s well-being in the areas of health care, economic circumstances, and family and social environment.

  • The Road to Recovery…

    Today on Capitol Hill, OMB Deputy Director Rob Nabors testified in front of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee about the Recovery Act. A major focus at the hearing was a report issued today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the non-partisan, independent government watchdog. GAO found that Recovery Act spending was ahead of schedule and was helping to mitigate the economic downturn.

  • This is IT

    Yesterday, the federal "IT Dashboard" went online — a new, one-stop clearinghouse of information that allows anyone with a web browser to track federal IT initiatives and hold the government accountable for progress and results.

  • A Clean Slate

    As the activity around health care reform heats up, I’m participating in a Q&A with John Dickerson at I hope our back and forth is helpful to OMBlog readers and the general public in understanding this important topic and the Administration’s thinking on it.

  • Welcome to OMB, Jeff!

    The OMB team gained another important member today as the Senate confirmed Jeff Zients to be the Deputy Director for Management (DDM). The President’s also asked Jeff to serve as the Administration’s Chief Performance Officer (CPO). I’ve blogged about Jeff before, so I won’t go through his resume again. But suffice it to say, he’s a proven leader who has an impressive record of success everywhere he’s worked. And now, with the Senate’s approval, he’s ready to get to bring his talents to public service.

  • Rulemaking 2.0

    Some of you may be following the public dialogue prompted by President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, which was kicked off on May 21st. Many of the topics discussed have touched on important OMB responsibilities, including oversight of the Federal regulatory process.

  • CBO Points the Way

    Reforms that meet long-term objectives but are not scored as delivering immediate savings are often viewed with an understandable amount of uncertainty and even suspicion. That’s why it was very helpful for CBO to release a letter yesterday afternoon walking through not only some of the challenges of financing major health legislation but also the pathways to a higher-quality, lower-cost health care system over time — the proposals that could help to "bend the curve" on cost growth over the long term. In a section entitled "Policy Options that Could Produce Budgetary Savings in the Long Run," the CBO letter highlights a number of options, nearly all of which were included in the President’s Budget or have been subsequently included as part of his health reform package, that hold promise for reducing costs over the long term.

  • Filed on Fleet Street

    Readers of this blog are familiar with my argument: Our fiscal future is so dominated by health care that if we can slow the rate of cost growth by just 15 basis points a year (0.15 percentage points), the savings for Medicare and Medicaid would equal the impact from eliminating Social Security’s entire 75-year shortfall.

  • Weekend Reading

    If you’re not outside enjoying the nice summer weekend and, like me, you are a health care policy wonk, there are a few important developments to be following.

  • Debating Health Care

    Beginning last week with posts by two bloggers I read regularly and then today with a lengthy editorial in the Wall Street Journal and a blog post by the always provocative Richard Posner, observers are raising some tough and direct questions about health care reform. Some of the pieces were skeptical – and even critical – of our plans. I welcome this debate, and hope to use this blog as a way to foster a dialogue on this vital topic.

  • Building Rigorous Evidence to Drive Policy

    One of the principles motivating the President’s Budget is that, as a nation, we haven’t been making the right investments to build a new foundation for economic prosperity — and we need smarter investments in education, health care, and social services.

  • McAllen Redux

    Last Thursday I blogged on Atul Gawande’s New Yorker essay on McAllen, Texas – the little Texas town with the dubious honor of being one of the most expensive health care market in the country. As Dr. Gawande noted, in 2006 Medicare spent about $15,000 per enrollee here – close to twice the national average, and three thousand dollars more per person than McAllen’s per capita income of $12,000.

  • Race for the Cure

    Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has organized an Administration team to run in this Saturday’s Global Race for the Cure. I’m joining with Ray and others from the Obama Administration – not only to run with friends and colleagues, but more importantly to remind all of us of the ultimate purpose of health reform: to help people enjoy better health and better lives.