Obama officials to find $100M

President Barack Obama today challenged his Cabinet to cut a collective $100 million during the next 90 days.

Obama wants department officials to find those in cuts to their administrative budgets, and he expects a report on their savings this summer.

“As well as you’ve already done, you’re going to have to do more,” Obama told the first cabinet meeting of his presidency.

Obama said he wants to trim spending to make the departments more efficient, especially as the government spends $787 billion to try to stimulate the economy and $410 billion on the fiscal 2009 federal budget.

As departments begin their searches, the Office of Management and Budget is already going through the federal budget to find programs to cut. Obama said he wants more cuts than what OMB intends to find.

“We have an obligation … to make sure that this government is as efficient as possible and that every taxpayer dollar that is spent is being spent wisely,” he said.

The government is looking to use technology and consolidated purchasing to make things operate more efficiently.

The White House noted that several departments are turning to paperless operations. For example, the U.S. Attorneys and the U.S. Marshals Offices’ Asset Forfeiture program will only publish judicial forfeiture notices on the Internet and not in newspapers. Administration officials expect to save $6.7 million over the first five years.

The White House said the Education Department is giving most of its employees a laptop, instead of a laptop and a desktop computer, making $2 million in savings.

The Homeland Security and State departments plan to buy in bulk to get volume discounts for office supplies, such as printers, computers and cell phones, the White House said, adding that bulk buying could save as much as 10 percent on those costs.

DHS' agencies also purchase computer software independently, which greatly increases the number of costly software licenses. Through buying these licenses as one entity, DHS estimates it can save $47 million a year, the White House said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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