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Obama signs order to cut travel, cellphones, swag - cuts 4 BILLION in waste

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:29 PM
  • 136 Replies
2 moms liked this

Obama signs order to cut travel, cellphones, swag

WASHINGTON (AP) - With the stroke of his pen, President Barack Obama has sacked souvenirs federal agencies buy with taxpayer money to promote their work.

The ban he signed Wednesday is part of a broader executive order to cut some $4 billion of dollars in waste and make government more efficient. Some office equipment will simply be scarcer, and fewer cell phones and laptops will be issued.

Obama has been using his executive powers on modest proposals - Wednesday's order targets trinkets like coffee cups, T-shirts and pens - to promote job creation, help homeowners or, in this case, redirect spending.

With such orders, signed in Oval Office ceremonies, Obama is trying to demonstrate that he is engaged in measures large and small and to distinguish himself from what he argues is a pretty unproductive Congress. Lawmakers are in the middle of a more gargantuan task - cutting deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

"It doesn't replace the importance of work the Congress needs to do in coming up with a balanced, bold plan to reduce our deficit," Obama said as he prepared to sign his administrative order. "But it indicates once again that there are things that we can do right now that will actually deliver better government, more efficiently, more consumer friendly for less money."

The saved money won't directly reduce deficits, however. In a statement in advance of the signing, Obama said, "We're cutting what we don't need so that we can invest in what we do need."

An administration official said the savings of about $4 billion would allow the administration to focus resources on veterans, members of the military and on infrastructure.

The order directs government agencies not only to reduce the authorizations for technology equipment, but also requires cutting the size of the executive vehicle fleet.

It also encourages agencies to use technology to save money, including teleconferences and online seminars to reduce travel and online publishing to cut down on publication costs.

Overall, the president aims to cut spending in the areas mentioned in the order by 20 percent.

"We believe we can get better results for less using technology," Obama said.

Vice President Joe Biden and White House budget director Jacob Lew attended the signing in the Oval Office.

Obama was also accompanied by four finalists in a cost-saving contest among federal government employees. One finalist suggested the creation of a tool "lending library," another proposed ending the purchase of U.S. code books that are already available online.

Among examples cited by the White House of cost-cutting already under way are the Internal Revenue Service's plan to cut 27 percent of its travel costs by relying more on teleconferences and webinars and the Homeland Security Department's decision to conduct annual audits to reduce the number of unused cellphones and air cards.

At the Commerce Department, the White House said, the agency has reduced the number of fleet drivers to one for all top departmental officials, including for new Secretary John Bryson.

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:29 PM
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Replies (1-10):
parrishsky
by Maxfield on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:32 PM
3 moms liked this

Let's see, how will Fox spin this one??

LoriKeet
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:32 PM
5 moms liked this

Why is this being done NOW?!

Oh, right....it's re-election time!!

punky3175
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:35 PM
1 mom liked this
It'll be interesting to see how this really works (yes I'm a federal employee.) It's amazing what different agencies will make for no real reason: cufflinks, cologne, perfume, onesies and the list goes on and on and on.
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nanaofsix531
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:37 PM
9 moms liked this

Quoting LoriKeet:

Why is this being done NOW?!

Oh, right....it's re-election time!!


punky3175
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:37 PM
Well they did spend the majority of FY 2011 just trying to settle on a budget...this was probably one of the "smaller" items that is a very small demonstration that he at least is serious about cutting unnecessary costs.

Quoting LoriKeet:

Why is this being done NOW?!

Oh, right....it's re-election time!!

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mamaof2angles
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:39 PM



Quoting nanaofsix531:

Quoting LoriKeet:

Why is this being done NOW?!

Oh, right....it's re-election time!!



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yourspecialkid
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:40 PM
4 moms liked this

Dang...good thing he found this "waste" right before the election!  Too bad we didn't have an election last year and the year before....LOL

mommy2angels427
by Bronze Member on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:41 PM

the mom below...

Quoting parrishsky:

Let's see, how will Fox spin this one??


sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:41 PM
4 moms liked this

Why wasn't it done from 2000-2008?

Quoting LoriKeet:

Why is this being done NOW?!

Oh, right....it's re-election time!!


jllcali
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:42 PM
2 moms liked this
While the timing *might* be suspect, this is a good thing.
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