President Obama this morning signed an executive order aimed at cutting waste and promoting more efficient spending across the federal government.
Specifically, the order directs agencies to reduce spending on travel; limits the number of information technology devices (cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops and so on) that can be issued to individual employees; stops unnecessary printing of documents that can be posted online; shrinks the executive fleet of the federal government; and stops using taxpayer dollars to buy swag — the plaques, clothing, and other unnecessary promotional items that agencies purchase. The administration estimates that spending in areas covered by the order will be reduced by 20 percent, saving billions.
Less travel, fewer cars and cell phones, no more swag – does this sound familiar, California? That could be because it seems Obama is taking a page from Gov. Jerry Brown’s playbook.
Brown earlier this year signed executive orders or issued directives cutting back on state workers’ cell phones; shrinking the state’s vehicle fleet; forbidding state spending on promotional swag; and restricting state workers’ travel, as well as imposing a hiring freeze.
“President Obama knows a good idea when he sees one,” Brown spokesman Gil Duran said this morning. “We’re glad to see that the federal government, like the State of California, is cutting waste and saving taxpayer dollars wherever possible.”
The Obama Administration says today’s order builds on progress already made through its “Campaign to Cut Waste.”
“At President Obama’s direction this Administration has taken up an unprecedented effort to downsize the federal real estate footprint, and is on track to save $3.5 billion in federal real estate costs by the end of Fiscal Year 2012,” the White House said. “The Administration has cracked down on waste in contracting, cutting contracting spending for the first time in more than a dozen years and slashing spending on ‘no bid contracts’ by $5 billion.”
The White House said Vice President Joe Biden in September convened the Cabinet’s first Campaign to Cut Waste meeting and asked the Cabinet to identify wasteful and inefficient spending on travel, executive fleet, publications, office equipment, and other areas, and that the president’s directive today builds on that work.
UPDATE @ 5:53 P.M.: In our story for tomorrow’s print editions, an Obama Administration official steers clear of crediting Brown.