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Obama Seeks to Eliminate "Unnecessary" Printing

November 11, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC—President Obama announced he would sign an Executive Order that will cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the federal government, the White House said.

Under the order, the president is directing agencies to, among other things, reduce spending on travel; limit the number of information technology devices (cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops) that can be issued to individual employees; stop printing documents that can be posted online; and end the practice of buying swag—the plaques, clothing and other "unnecessary" promotional items that agencies purchase.

The order reportedly will cut spending by 20 percent, providing billions in savings.

In addition, a finalist for the 2011 Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award—which seeks ideas from federal employees to make government more effective, efficient and taxpayer-dollar conscious—suggested the Social Security Administration (SSA) stop printing and mailing the OASIS employee magazine, making it available online only.

Last year's SAVE winner suggested that Uncle Sam stop printing and shipping excess Federal Registers to federal government offices, which costs millions of dollars per year, when the content is available online. As a result, the Obama Administration cut the number of copies that federal agencies receive by 85 percent within the past year.

The executive order to stop "unnecessary" printing directs agencies to provide written information electronically and limit the production of hard copy documents. Some agencies have begun doing this; the Department of the Treasury plans to reduce spending on printing by increasing the number of paperless transactions it conducts with the public. Treasury expects to reduce printing costs by up to 24 percent in fiscal year 2012. It is also expected to save more than $500 million and 12 million pounds of paper during its first five years alone.


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