White House asks agencies to cut spending by 5 percent

By Suzanne Kubota and Julia Ziegler

President Barack Obama is telling agencies to come up with plans to cut five percent from their FY 2012 budgets based on how well programs advance the mission.

Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag told an audience at the Center for American Progress, the administration is asking “each agency to develop a list of their bottom five percent performing discretionary programs, as measured by their impact in furthering the agency’s mission. This includes both security and non-security agencies.

“In addition, to ensure that we can meet the president’s absolute insistence on a freeze for non-security agencies while funding new priority areas, we are asking those non-security agencies to specify how they would reduce their budgets by five percent, which will give us the ability to achieve the overall non-security freeze even while meeting inevitable new needs and priorities,” Orszag says.

The call for a five percent cut is nothing new for agencies. The Obama administration asked them to do the exact same thing in past budgets.

Orszag pointed to more that 250 education programs, youth mentoring programs, and employment and training programs, calling them duplicative and potentially wasteful of taxpayer dollars. “This type of redundancy wastes resources and makes it harder to act on each of the underlying worthy goals that the programs are aimed at,” Orszag says.

Orszag admits the cuts wont close the budget gap the U.S. faces but, he says, “that fact does not absolve us from the responsibility and obligation we have to use funds wisely.”

Stay tuned for analysis on this story Monday afternoon on the DorobekInsider and Wednesday morning on The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris.

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