Since the beginning of the Administration, the President has made it a priority to identify and eliminate inefficient or unnecessary spending, and advance efforts that help sustain a high-performing, cost-effective Government for the American people.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a key partner in the Administration’s efforts to create more efficiencies and cost savings. Every year, GAO releases its report identifying opportunities for Congress and the Executive Branch to reduce or eliminate inefficiencies and achieve savings across programs. In addition, GAO provides helpful updates on actions the Administration and Congress have taken on recommendations from previous reports. In today’s 2015 annual report, GAO’s findings recognize the overall progress the Administration has made since the initial 80 areas of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication were identified in 2011. For example:
Many of GAO’s recommendations deal with some of the most complex and challenging areas across the Federal government. Fully addressing them is a long-term process that in many cases will take years to implement – a fact that GAO recognizes.
Under the President’s Management Agenda, we are accelerating progress made to reduce administrative overhead, improve training and job programs, reduce the government’s real estate costs, institutionalize data-driven reviews, reform acquisition, and driver smarter IT delivery. A more complete picture of this Administration’s progress in reducing duplication, fragmentation, and overlap across the Federal Government can be found HERE.
A few examples where the Administration has made progress on GAO’s recommendations as well as the President’s Management Agenda include:
In each of the President’s first six Budgets, the Administration identified, on average, more than 150 cuts, consolidations, and savings averaging more than $23 billion each year. Many of these proposals have now been implemented, and the Budget built on this success by including 101 cuts, consolidations, and savings proposals projected to save over $14 billion in 2016. The President’s FY 2016 Budget shows that we can avoid the harmful spending cuts known as sequestration, and instead invest in economic growth, mobility, and national security, while still putting the Nation on a sustainable fiscal path. Overall the Budget achieves about $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction, primarily from reforms in health programs, the tax code, and immigration.
The Budget also supports the President’s plan to reorganize the Federal Government so that it does more for less, and is best positioned to assist businesses and entrepreneurs in the global economy. Specifically, the President is renewing his request for the Congress to revive the reorganization authority given to nearly every President from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan. This authority would allow the Administration to submit plans to consolidate and reorganize Executive Branch Departments and agencies for fast track consideration by the Congress, but only so long as the result would be to reduce the size of Government or cut costs, a new requirement for this type of authority. The President’s FY 2016 Budget includes examples of cross-government consolidations intended as a blueprint for reorganizing and reforming the Government. As the President first indicated in 2012, if he is given Presidential reorganization authority, he would propose to consolidate a number of agencies and programs into a new department focused on fostering economic growth and driving job creation. This proposal would consolidate six primary business and trade agencies, as well as other related programs, integrating the Government’s core trade and competitiveness functions into one new department. The President’s Budget also proposes consolidating food safety functions, as an essential step to reforming the Federal food safety system overall. The Administration will continue to work with Congress and stakeholders on these proposals and to identify opportunities to make the Government more efficient and effective.
Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Federal Government is not an easy endeavor. It requires dedication and commitment throughout agencies, from the Secretary at headquarters to the employees on the front line. It requires sustained support from both the Executive and Legislative Branches. Our success to date shows that we can improve the way Government works and provide the American people with an efficient, effective, high-performing Government. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, GAO, and other stakeholders to identify opportunities to create a Government of the future that makes a significant and tangible difference in the economy and the lives of the American people.
Beth Cobert is Deputy Director for Management at the White House Office of Management and Budget.