Entries in Executive Order (4)


Obama to Sign Executive Order Targeting Government Waste

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s "We Can't Wait" campaign on Wednesday will target government waste and promote ways to efficiently spend federal dollars by cutting funding for federal swag and excessive document printing, among other things.

Wednesday morning, the president will sign an executive order directing agencies to reduce spending on travel; limit the number of technology devices that can be issued to employees; stop unnecessarily printing of documents; shrink the executive fleet of the federal government; and stop using taxpayer dollars to buy plaques, clothing, and other unnecessary promotional items.

According to the White House, the executive order will reduce overall spending in these areas by 20 percent.

“From the day I took office, I’ve said we’re going to comb the federal budget, line by line, to eliminate as much wasteful spending as possible… We can’t wait for Congress to act -- we can’t wait for them to get our fiscal house in order and make the investments necessary to keep America great. That’s why today, I’m signing an Executive Order that will build on our efforts to cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the government -- we’re cutting what we don’t need so that we can invest in what we do need,” Obama said in a written statement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Executive Actions May Have Limited Impact

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With his jobs bill mired in a divided Congress, President Obama has been touting a series of unilateral actions that his administration says will help the middle class and the American economy. His critics, however, say the impact will be limited at best.

Obama on Monday signed an executive order aimed at curbing drug shortages, the latest in a steady drumbeat of half-a-dozen steps the president has taken as part of his “we can’t wait” campaign.

“We can’t wait for action on the Hill,” Obama said Monday of pending legislation to address drug shortages during the signing in the Oval Office.  “We’ve got to go ahead and move forward.”

While Obama uses sweeping rhetoric in carefully crafted public appearances to promote the benefits of his urgent plans, close inspection of the fine print reveals many can only go so far to address widespread socioeconomic woes without Congress’ help.

“The terms are limited. The tool is limited,” said Thomas Mann, a senior fellow and congressional scholar at the Brookings Institution. “You’ve got to go with what you can do and try to take your case to the public for the next election.”

The new White House order to the FDA, for example, simply “enhances” and “amplifies” steps that are already being taken, officials said.  The agency will hire five new staffers to work on drug shortage issues. It sent a letter to drug companies reminding them to report the discontinuation of drugs.

A housing initiative billed last week as relief for some of the estimated 11 million Americans underwater with their mortgages could help roughly four million homeowners, according to the administration.

But critics say the number will likely be much lower. They point to the administration’s 2009 refinancing program, which was initially projected to help five million borrowers but has served fewer than one million.

Obama has also hailed an expedited student loan program for 1.6 million college students, saying it will cap their payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income, saving them “hundreds of dollars per month.”

But an analysis published in The Atlantic said the program would save the average eligible student less than $10 per month. Furthermore, the new loan repayment cap only applies to current students who have taken out loans in 2012 and beyond.

An executive action and public fanfare to boost jobs for American veterans has yielded pledges by private companies to hire tens of thousands, but the administration is unable to secure any guarantees -- the voluntary commitments notwithstanding.

Add the executive memorandum issued by Obama last week to create a website to help small businesses and you have Republicans crying foul, saying the president’s campaign to circumvent Congress is nothing more than a political stunt to aid his bid for a second term.

Meanwhile, Obama aides have brushed aside criticism, saying the president’s actions are entirely legal and better than doing nothing at all. However, administration officials have not been able to estimate how many jobs will be created by the executive actions.

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said the steps will lead to progress on deeply rooted social and economic woes.

"There’s no panacea,” Axelrod told CNN. “But if you’re one of the millions of homeowners who can’t refinance their homes because their home values have dropped, even though they’ve made their payments every month, it’s not a small thing. It is a big thing.”

 As for why Obama took so long to use his executive powers if he’s had them all along, Axelrod said the problems are “complicated.”

"There’s no silver bullet for them, so you have to keep chipping away at this problem and that is what he’s doing.”

Mann says the strategy is part instructional, part substantive and part political, all without much to lose.

"His Republican critics have been saying all along, ‘why don’t you act?' assuming he can tell the Congress what to do,” Mann said. “Now he’s acting on what basis he has.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Orders FDA To Curb Drug Shortages

File photo. (Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images)(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has signed another executive order, this one directing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action to reduce prescription drug shortages, which the White House says have endangered patients and led to price gauging.

“Recently we have seen how the potential of drug shortages for vital drugs, including some cancers, can really have an adverse impact on patients and those who are caring for patients, President Obama said at the signing Monday in the Oval Office. "Sometimes we run out of or run low on certain types of drugs and that drives up prices and it increases patient risk.” 

The new Executive Order instructs the FDA to take action in three areas: broadening reporting of potential drug shortages, expediting regulatory reviews that can help prevent shortages, and examining whether potential shortages have led to illegal price gouging.

According to the White House, these additional steps will help achieve some of the goals of bipartisan legislation currently in Congress that would strengthen the FDA’s ability to prevent prescription drug shortages in the future. The president supports the pending legislation.

What the executive action does not do, however, is give the president any new authority. White House officials Monday made clear that this action simply “enhances” and “amplifies” steps that are already being taken by the FDA to monitor and prevent drug shortages.

“The executive order does not grant us new authority beyond what the legislation on the books has already done,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters on a conference call Monday afternoon.

In addition to expediting review of drug suppliers and new manufacturing sites to prevent shortages, the administration also announced it is adding five new staffers to the FDA’s Drug Shortages Program and sending a letter to manufacturers to remind them to report the discontinuation of certain drugs.

Monday’s action is part of the president’s continuing “we can’t wait” campaign to take unilateral action to boost the economy without seeking the appoval of Congress, which has failed to support the president’s $447 billion jobs bill.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Sign Executive Order Against 'Dumb' Government Regulations

Photo Courtesy - Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will sign an executive order Tuesday to make clear that the operating principle of the U.S. government is to strike the right balance with regulations, neither "placing unreasonable burdens on business -- burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs" nor failing to "protect the public interest."

The president made the announcement in an op-ed in the conservative opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal, signaling his latest push towards the political center.

The administration, the president writes, is "making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb."

The executive order "requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth.  And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.  It's a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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