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OMB Exit Memo: A Record of Progress and A Vision for the Future

Last week, OMB Director Shaun Donovan issued an Exit Memo on the progress made by OMB, his vision for the country’s future, and the work that remains. Here’s an excerpt:

Editor’s Note: At the President’s request, each member of the President’s Cabinet released an Exit Memo last week on the progress made by their agencies over the past eight years, their vision for the country’s future, and the work that remains in order to achieve that vision. Please see below for an excerpt of the Exit Memo from OMB Director Shaun Donovan to the President. The full memo is available HERE.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) plays a unique role working across the Federal Government to help departments implement the commitments and priorities of the President. We develop the President’s Budget to ensure that the Federal Government makes needed investments in economic growth, opportunity, and security, while staying on a sound financial path. We work to ensure that, through effective management, the Federal Government delivers the services that the American people expect in smarter, faster, and better ways. And we work to ensure that federal regulations protect the health, welfare, and safety of Americans and promote economic growth, job creation, competitiveness, and innovation.

Over the past eight years we’ve made remarkable progress in each of these areas. Since 2009, Federal deficits have fallen by about two-thirds as a share of the economy, even as we made important investments in economic growth and national security. We have improved our long-term budget outlook significantly as well – mainly due to a growing economy, policies that ensure that the highest-income taxpayers pay a fairer share, the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and dramatically slower growth in health care costs, thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

We have led the Administration’s successful efforts to leverage technology and innovation to produce a smarter, savvier, and more effective government for the American people. We have made important progress in modernizing and improving citizen-facing services, including by establishing the United States Digital Service. We have integrated best practices to reform the way we buy and operate information technology and other products and services. We have cut wasteful spending, saving taxpayers billions of dollars on Federal IT, real estate, contracting and other costs.

And we have led efforts to create a 21st century regulatory system – one that protects Americans and promotes economic growth. Major Federal regulations issued during the first seven years of this Administration have generated approximately $250 billion in annual net benefits, according to preliminary estimates. We also established and institutionalized a retrospective review process – an unprecedented, government-wide review of existing regulations – to create a more cost-effective, evidence-based regulatory system. Through this initiative, we have achieved an estimated $37 billion in cost savings, reduced paperwork, and produced other benefits for Americans over five years.

In this memo, I will lay out in more detail our accomplishments, as well as a vision for how we can continue our progress in the years ahead.

Shannon Buckingham is the Associate Director for Communications and Strategic Planning at the White House Office of Management and Budget.