President Obama signed an executive order this morning calling for federal agencies to cut waste in a number of areas including travel, information technology devices, printing, vehicles and promotional SWAG in an effort to promote more efficient spending across the government.
The executive order builds on the Obama Administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste with today’s mandates stemming from a September Cabinet meeting led by Vice President Joe Biden.
“From the day I took office, I’ve said we’re going to comb the federal budget, line by line, to eliminate as much wasteful spending as possible,” President Obama said. “That’s what the Campaign to Cut Waste is all about. We can’t wait for Congress to act – we can’t wait for them to get our fiscal house in order and make the investments necessary to keep America great. That’s why today, I’m signing an Executive Order that will build on our efforts to cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the government – we’re cutting what we don’t need so that we can invest in what we do need.”
Agencies now have 45 days to develop plans to reduce combined costs 20 percent below Fiscal Year 2010 levels in a number of areas, according to the order.
Travel and conferences: Travel will be limited to circumstances where the activity can only be performed away from the employee’s primary office (e.g., a diplomatic mission or enforcement inspection).
Employees will continue attending local meetings and conferences in person but expand their use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing technology to participate in meetings or conferences that would normally require travel. If agencies are hosting or sponsoring conferences, they will use conference space controlled by the federal government wherever possible.
Each agency will designate a senior-level official to be responsible for reducing travel costs.
Cut the use of unnecessary information technology devices: The Executive Order directs each agency to limit the number of devices issued to employees and establish new policies to ensure they are not paying for IT equipment that isn’t being used.
End unnecessary printing: The Executive Order directs agencies to provide written information electronically and limit the production of hard copy documents.
Limit vehicles: The Federal Government spends $9 million per year on vehicles just to shepherd itself around Washington. The Executive Order limits executive transportation across the federal government and directs agencies to improve the performance of the Federal fleet.
No more swag: The Executive Order directs agencies to stop wasting taxpayer money on non-essential items used for promotional purposes, such as clothing, mugs, and non-work related gadgets.
“In September, I asked all Cabinet secretaries to report on wasteful and inefficient spending at their agencies. Certain spending – like purchasing promotional water bottles, paying for unused cell phones, and booking unnecessary travel – is unacceptable. Today’s executive order will stop wasteful spending and make sure we use taxpayer dollars efficiently and responsibly,” said Vice President Biden.