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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Obama announces new steps to tackle wasteful spending

President Obama issued an Executive Order Monday to reduce government waste and abuse.


The order:

• Calls for creation of an 11-member Government Accountability and Transparency Board made up of agency inspectors general, chief financial officers and other officials. The board will work with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency (RAT) Board — created two years ago to monitor the use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds — to apply the RAT board's techniques to other government spending.

• Assigns federal Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients to look for agency management practices that should be adopted across the government.

• Names each agency's chief operating officer to lead efforts to curb ineffective or wasteful programs.

Within six months, the new government accountability board must report on how the government can broaden the use of the RAT board's use of fraud detection technologies.

Those technologies have worked to deter abuse, Vice President Biden told reporters Monday. Out of some $480 billion in Recovery Act spending on contracts, grants and other programs, Biden said, officials have so far found less than $3 million affected by fraud.

The expanded effort is needed to regain taxpayers' confidence in how the government spends their money, Biden said.

In a brief interview after Biden's event, Danny Werfel, who oversees federal financial management at the Office of Management and Budget, said the new campaign will also wrap in efforts to cut down on federal payment mistakes. The administration is already testing a website to prevent money from going to people who have died, federal prisoners and problem contractors. It is asking Congress for $10 million to expand the program next year.

-Sean Reilly, FederalTimes.com

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