Administration Unveils Accountable Government Initiative
by Gary Therkildsen*, 7/27/2010
Last week, in remarks before a signing ceremony for the recently passed Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, President Obama highlighted the measure as the latest in a series of accomplishments his administration has made toward their goal of fundamentally changing the way Washington works. The White House has strung those accomplishments together – along with their other open government and anti-fraud, -waste, and -abuse programs – to create the Accountable Government Initiative.
Officials circulated a backgrounder to supporters last week, and the initiative is literally a laundry list of the reforms the administration has instituted or called for so far, including:
- Cutting duplicative or unnecessary programs in the FY 2010 and 2011 budgets
- Eliminating low performing agency programs
- Freezing non-security discretionary spending for three years beginning FY 2011
- Reducing no-bid and high-risk federal contracts
- Obtaining expedited recession authority
- Creating a federal "do not pay" list
- Limiting improper payments
- Reducing high risk internet technology projects across federal agencies
- Creating open government plans for federal agencies
- Bringing more transparency to federal spending
While a cynic might be right in charging this is just a way to package these reforms to promote them to the public, this effort is long overdue. The administration gets little credit for these achievements, which are often wonky in nature and easily overshadowed by the hyper-partisan atmosphere of Washington.
Pulling together all the links for this piece, I was surprised by just how many reforms the current administration has undertaken. And while I might not want the White House to get everything on its list (expedited recession authority), and some of the reforms don't go far enough (open government plans), the efforts are laudable, not only for the sheer number of them, but because of their importance.
The way the government does business with the private sector and how it interacts with the public are two of the most fundamental exercises of a republic, and these initiatives represent the groundwork for a more efficient, open, and transparent government.
Image by Flickr user jurvetson used under a Creative Commons license.