USDA Cancels Summer Trip to Australia

Office of Management and Budget

These and other seemingly commonsensical budget cuts can be found in an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) report released yesterday.

The report details some 77 cuts proposed by federal agency heads who were challenged by President Obama in April to find $100 million to trim out of the FY 2009 budget. In a memorandum to the president released with the report, OMB Director Peter Orszag and Cabinet Secretary Christopher Lu summarized the roughly $102 million in FY 2009 cuts along with announcing an additional $144 million in cost savings for FY 2010. The cuts range from the cancellation of the Department of Agriculture's trip to Australia to improving energy efficiency and promoting a more economical use of resources throughout several agencies.

While several of the suggested cost savings seem substantive, a number of them are run-of-the-mill equivoques – including such gems as "Improving operations" or "Information technology savings" – with vague references to increasing efficiency and streamlining processes. Though I agree with the administration that these small cuts can set the right tone for fiscal responsibility, the true test is whether President Obama will continue to hold his agency heads accountable for sensibly – and substantively – cutting costs over the course of his presidency.

Image by Flickr user johnsolid used under a Creative Commons license.

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