OMB sees discretionary spending cuts in agencies' futures

Administration wants all agencies to cut 5 percent of their discretionary budgets from unneeded programs.

The Obama administration today told agencies to cut at least 5 percent from their discretionary budgets.

Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, and Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wants cuts in the upcoming fiscal 2012 budget cycle, according to their memo. They told agencies “to identify programs and subprograms that have the lowest impact on your agency’s mission” and cut them. They want officials to evaluate the programs based on their overall missions.

“In doing so, your agency should consider whether the program has an unclear or duplicative purpose, uncertain federal role, completed mission, or lack of demonstrated effectiveness,” the memo states.


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In a speech this morning at the Center for American Progress, Orszag said there are more than 110 funded programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in 14 departments and agencies. There are more than 100 programs that support youth mentoring scattered across 13 agencies. And 11 departments have more than 40 programs dealing with employment and training.

“This redundancy wastes resources and makes it harder to act on each of these worthy goals,” he said.

To hit the 5 percent mark, agencies should identify entire programs that can be ended or ways to cut a program’s total spending at least in half, the memo states. The memo adds that agencies also need to include a brief justification for each program’s cut.

The review includes every agency, non-security and security agencies alike, the memo states.

Emanuel and Orszag said agencies should not meet the goal with an across-the-board reduction or incremental savings in administrative costs.

“The American people deserve a government that spends every taxpayer dollar with as much care as taxpayers spend their own dollars — where money is spent not out of inertia, but only when it contributes to achieving a clear national priority,” they wrote.

 

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Fri, Jun 18, 2010

The American people deserve a government that spends every taxpayer dollar with as much care as taxpayers spend their own dollars — where money is spent not out of inertia, but only when it contributes to achieving a clear national priority,” they wrote. "HOW MANY TAXPAYERS ARE REALLY CAREFUL WITH SPENDING THEIR OWN DOLLARS--OTHER THAN PERHAPS THOSE ON FIXED INCOMES. IF THEY WERE REALLY CAREFUL, WE WOULD WOULD NOT HAVE FAST FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS, DRIVE GAS GUZZLERS, HDTVS, PLAYSTATIONS ETC.ETC. INSTEAD LIGHTS WOULD BE OUT BY 10:00 P.M. SPEND ONLY ON WHAT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE ECONOMY. GOVERNMENT ONLY SPENDS BECAUSE 'TAXPAYERS" WANT MORE, MORE, MORE AND POLITICIANS ARE ONLY TO HAPPY TO OBLIGE IN THE NAME OF SELF PRESERVATION!

Fri, Jun 11, 2010

On reader wrote: The American people deserve a government that spends every taxpayer dollar with as much care as taxpayers spend their own dollars — where money is spent not out of inertia, but only when it contributes to achieving a clear national priority,” they wrote. IF THIS WERE TRUE WE WOULD NOT BE SEEING OUR COUNTRY GO DOWN THE DRAIN BY THIS ADMINISTRATION. But in his/her bias, he/she forgot to add "... and by the last administration (that took us from an impending suplus to a huge deficit and doubled the national debt) and the administration before that, and the one before that, etc. -- All of them far more intersted in getting re-elected than in resolving any problems.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010

The American people deserve a government that spends every taxpayer dollar with as much care as taxpayers spend their own dollars — where money is spent not out of inertia, but only when it contributes to achieving a clear national priority,” they wrote. IF THIS WERE TRUE WE WOULD NOT BE SEEING OUR COUNTRY GO DOWN THE DRAIN BY THIS ADMINISTRATION.

Thu, Jun 10, 2010

I totally agree with the reader's comment above. One area where there is a great deal of wasted tax payers dollars is in federal public facing web sites. These sites definitely serve a function to citizens but I don't think that all the bells and whistles are necessary to achieve the desired goal. One in particular comes to mind. One specific site which has won numerous awards comes to mind. The intitial intention and purpose was a good one and still is because it provides easy access to information for the citizen. However, millions of eGOV dollars have been given to the organization that manages the afore referenced site for new social media type projects that I am not convinced citizens would feel are necessary nor will they provide a return on investment for the tax payer.

Wed, Jun 9, 2010

In the Orszag memo it says that agencies should make reductions so that there is funding for "new initiatives". Isn't that why we have a deficit problem? The only new initiative should be to reduce the deficit. Any other new initiatives are merely to get reelected.

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