Obama and Sheriff Joe Target Government Waste

Jun 13, 2011 12:57pm

ABC News' Tahman Bradley reports:

The Obama administration announced today a new campaign to cut government waste that will be headed up by Vice President Joe Biden. 

President Obama issued an executive order establishing an oversight and accountability board to help government agencies reduce waste, fraud and abuse.  The administration said the board will consist of 11 government officials who will be on the lookout for misused tax dollars across the federal government. Cabinet officials will be expected to report their progress cutting waste to Vice President Joe Biden, who will, as he did with the Recovery Act, wear his sheriff's badge as the person in charge of oversight.

At an event this morning in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Vice President Biden told deputy secretaries, cabinet and agency COOs and CFOs that it will be their job to make sure taxpayer money is being saved.  Biden said everyone in government is responsible for protecting taxpayers.

"There's nothing like accountability, man. It sure focuses your attention," said Biden.  "My father used to say accountability works really well especially when you're in the bull's-eye. Let me tell you, we're all in the bull's-eye." 

Biden said there's billions of dollars that can be saved by government officials doing their part.  He pointed to the oversight work that was done on the Economic Recovery Act as a model of efficiency that can be adopted across the federal government.   

"This is not the answer to our long-term economic problems worldwide and solving the multitrillion dollar cumulative debt, but it is really, really important. It’s about changing the attitude about how we do business."

The vice president spoke at length about his belief that the process used in issuing out Recovery Act dollars was largely free of waste and abuse.  "Folks, it worked," he said.  "We did it responsibly. We did it economically."  Biden said the administration only found fraud involving $3 million out of the $480 billion in contracts, grants and loans that were given out as part of the Recovery Act. 

The White House also released a video of President Obama discussing the new campaign.  The president jokes about books and websites that taxpayers pay for that the government does not need. In the opening shot of the video, President Obama, sitting next to a big stack of books that make up the Federal Register,  jokes that no one reads the Federal Register because it’s been on the Internet for years.

Watch the video HERE.    

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