Fiscal Responsibility

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Guiding Principles

Changing the way Washington does business

Just as important as changing what Washington does is to change how it does it. We cannot begin to tackle the challenges we face in the short term to revive our economy and in the long term to put us on the path to growth without restoring fiscal responsibility and accountability to Government.

Restoring Fiscal Discipline

The Administration took the initial steps to restore fiscal discipline by signing into law an economic recovery bill that is free of all earmarks and by launching – an unprecedented effort to allow the public to track how and where recovery funds are actually used. To continue this progress, the Administration will:

  • Cut the deficit in half by the end of the President’s first term. On January 20, 2009, the President inherited a $1.3 trillion budget deficit. The President has put forth a budget that will halve this deficit by the end of his first term, bring non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of GDP since 1962.
  • Review the budget line-by-line for waste. We should be investing taxpayer dollars in efforts and programs with proven records of success and reallocating or cutting programs that do not work or whose benefits are not worth their cost. The Department of Defense unveiled an unprecedented effort to reform defense contracting, and the President has launched a line-by-line review of the federal budget to pinpoint what programs works and what needs to be terminated or reduced in scope.
  • Return to honest budgeting. Too often in the past several years, budget tricks were used to make the government’s books seem stronger than they actually were. The President put forward a budget that rejects many of these gimmicks, most notably, the exclusion of war costs.


  • Vice President Biden announced over $2 billion in savings from anti-waste measures at the first Cabinet waste reduction meeting on September 14, 2011. He also revealed that the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor program has recovered nearly $670 million to date in 2011 – increasing the taxpayer dollars recovered by nearly 800% compared to 2010.
  • On August 23, 2011 federal agencies released their final regulatory reform plans, which include hundreds of initiatives that will reduce costs, simplify the system and eliminate redundancy and inconsistency. These rules are expected to save more than $4 billion over the next five years.
  • On July 20, 2011 as part of the President’s Campaign to Cut Waste, the Office of Management and Budget announced that in 2012, they will shut down 178 data centers, bringing us to a total of 373 data centers that will be shut down by the end of 2012. This represents substantial progress towards their goal of shutting down more than 800 data centers by 2015, which is expected to save taxpayers more than $3 billion.
  • President Obama and Vice President Biden launch the Campaign to Cut Waste, which will hunt down and eliminate misspent tax dollars in every agency and department across the Federal Government.
  • The President signed an Executive Order on government contracting to fight waste and abuse.
  • The President launched to track spending from the Recovery Act, an unprecedented step to provide transparency and accountability through technology.
  • The President wrote to the congressional leadership calling on them to pass statutory Pay-As-You-Go rules so that any new non-emergency tax cut or entitlement expansion offset in the budget.
  • The President signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system.
  • President Obama signed an executive order that will cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the federal government. 

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