President Obama's 'Smarter Government' Plan

The president outlines ways to use technology for more-efficient delivery of services.
21:00 | 07/08/13

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Transcript for President Obama's 'Smarter Government' Plan
This is a special report from ABC news. I'm Dan -- New York with a CBC news digital special report the White House about -- shake up President Obama. Is about to announce some changes in the governments and how it is managed. The Obama administration calling for quote. A smarter government. And NBC's Mary Brooks is in Washington DC with some of the details on the announced that we're expected -- just a short time we saw. A shot there are inside the White House air conditioned I might add Perry and sports figure out sweating and in the DC -- heat today. So what does the president expect to say. Good afternoon Dan what this all about government efficiency that president going to be coming as you mentioned that nice air conditioned room. Turn out that he wants is government to really hardest new technologies to make government leaner faster more efficient you know we think about the federal government. This is a huge bureaucratic machine and it can be a lot of redundancies and the president wants to. -- -- taking charge and trying to sort of eliminate some of those redundancies and make things more efficient and smoother and not wasting taxpayer money. Let me ask you this could be because it's interesting you know we get a -- of what the president schedules going to be like initially this announcement was not on the schedule why the change at the last minute. That's. Hot you know the White House scheduling usually comes -- the evening before last night about a little Lee had nothing on his schedule in this morning they announced that he. I was sitting down with his cabinet members this morning some of his top officials -- top senior officials this morning to discuss this to discuss ways to streamline the government of it. And that he was making this announcement so I don't it was a last minute change in the schedule and just maybe there are working out some some of the kinks -- and into the morning talked. Me a little bit about the budget director Sylvia Matthews -- who has been charged with heading up this initiative. That's right that's quite a task you think about it she's the head of the OMB the office of management and budget and the president is naming heard it to help charged business issued -- to help find different areas within the government where they -- can -- a little bit maybe there are some redundancies ways that they can help sort stretch that dollar just as. Every American wants their money to go further they want the federal money to go -- well. And there we're gonna have a whole lot just from I was so we can all listen to the president as he's. Thank you so much. Back in 2007. When. I was first running for this office I have -- -- visit Google headquarters. In Mountain View and Silicon Valley. To discuss ways we can use technology to allow more citizens to participate in the democracy and bring a government built largely in the twentieth century. Into the 21 -- After all we an -- set out to build a new type campaign. One -- used technology to bring people together. And then trusted them when that technology to organize on the wrong and the idea was simple. Instead of bringing more people to the campaign we want to bring. The campaign to more people. And let them determine. Its course -- its nature. If you want to make phone calls or knock on doors you can after coming to a field office. First you couldn't. Just get the information you need right on your phone. And go up there -- If you want to get your friends and vault then we had the tools to help you connect. I very much felt that some of the things that we were doing to help us get elected. Could also be used once we were -- If you want to share your story we can help you get your story and and and throughout this process we created one of the most inclusive and one of the most successful campaigns in American history. Now once we got to Washington. Instead of an operation humming with the latest technology. I -- to fight really hard just to keep my -- And as anyone. Knows dealing with the federal government is not always high tech and it's -- not always user friendly. So over the past for -- half years we've worked diligently to change that. It's like we did on -- campaign. We started by recruiting some of the smartest people from the private sector to work side by side with some of the smartest people in the public sector to help get it done. So that day that I visit -- -- promised to appoint the nation's. First CTO. Chief technology officer and soon after I took office like that. Today our chief. Technology officer top park. And our chief information officer Steve -- Forward from working when their teams to innovate and apply the best technology to help solve some of our biggest challenges. From creating jobs to reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure. We are the first to confess that progress is not always come quick. And major challenges still remain. We've made huge swathes of your government. More efficient and more transparent and more accountable than ever before. And we've -- by focusing on three -- First we found ways to deliver the services that citizens expect. In smarter faster and better ways. So for example until recently when a natural disaster struck teams from FEMA. Have to rely exclusively on in person and inspections to figure out which families needed help. Now they analyze satellite and aerial imagery and get housing assistance to areas that need it most. More quickly. After working in sandy most folks were able to sign up for assistance using -- mobile and web -- Updating and checking the status of their applications. And FEMA agents went door to door in some areas -- -- -- helping residents would lost power and Internet access sign up for disaster relief. Without leaving their homes. Making sure that were delivering services better faster more -- Second we've identified new ways to reduce waste and save taxpayers money. So for example just by working to get rid of overlapping IT systems. We've identified more than 2.5 billion dollars in savings across the federal government. And that's just the beginning. I've proposed and signed into law the elimination of dozens. Of federal programs and cut even more of the -- either duplicate it. Not working or no longer need. Saving billions of dollars a year. The basic principle -- -- taxpayers deserve the biggest bang for their buck. Especially at a time when budgets are tight and we've got to do a lot more -- -- And now anyone can visit whitehouse dot gov to see. Your taxpayer receipt. -- literal receipt that tells you just how and where your tax dollars. Are being spent. Finally. For the first time in history we've opened up huge amounts of government data to the American people and put it on the Internet for free. -- data that dot gov you can search through and download more than 75000. -- Data on everything from what different hospitals charge for different procedures. -- credit card complaints. To weather and climate measurements. And what's happening until north and business owners are now using that data. The people's data to create jobs and solve problems the government can't solve by itself. Work and -- his official. So there's -- company called hope. For example misused. Open government data. -- to on general energy trends and whether to help families safe. More than 300 million dollars on their energy -- There's another company called -- triage. Founded by two emergency room doctors. That is using freely downloadable data about health care providers from the Department of Health and Human Services to help more than nine million people. Find the closest doctors and hospitals that meet -- And the list goes on and and these companies have now hired hundreds of people and there still higher. And millions of people -- -- used. These applications that were created. As a consequence of releasing this day. So we've made some good progress on all fronts. But now we need to do more. So today I met with all my cabinet including a number of new cabinet members some of whom I have extraordinary private sector experience. And I directed -- the cabinet to develop an aggressive management agenda for my second term that delivers a smarter more innovative and more comparable government. -- -- -- We're gonna continue to adopt good ideas from the private sector MS Sylvia -- -- well we often the director of the Office of Management and Budget to leave this up. Sylvia was part of a team -- OMB that presided over three years of budget surpluses in the 1990s. After a Philanthropic work of the gates foundation and Wal-Mart foundation she's come back to help us move this effort for. She's not -- only one. We've also welcomed a new class of presidential innovation felt so I'd love. Four. Pressed meet some of these folks -- -- extraordinary. These are Americans with a vast private sector -- now technology expertise. Who have volunteered to come serve their country in the private sector. So for example Scott -- helped found a company that helps recent graduates turn their good ideas and good businesses. -- -- -- -- Use used to manage product design for everything from mobile phones to video games. -- givens found an innovative shopping site that adapts to your taste as you browse. And so -- and forty other fellows are taking this private sector expertise. And bringing it into the government. Making it smarter may get more user friendly. Today for example many online shopping web sites help fill in some your information so you don't have to Everett every time you log -- As consequence were working on a project called my USA -- will save -- time by doing the same thing with government forms. And if you're applying for federal benefits we think you should be able to track the status of your application in real time. Dislike you can follow location of a package. All the way to your source. These are things that are in the pipeline right now. Currently when our government asked for bids on a project is usually written in complicated language with complicated requirements that. Most people don't understand. We're working to make things simpler so it's easier for more small businesses across the country to bid on projects. And will help businesses create more jobs doing work that needs to be done. And by opening up more competition -- government contracts will save taxpayers money in the process. -- recently re launched and -- easier health care dot gov. Beginning October 1 Americans will be able -- on in comparison shop an array of private health insurance plans side by side. Dislike you go online and compare. The best deal on cars are the best deal on computers. Because you'll finally be part of a new pool. -- millions of other Americans insurers will actually want to compete for your business. We've -- we've worked really hard to make these marketplaces user friendly so for example when the prototype of an -- cased the joint. The market place came in at 21 pages we rejected -- we said let's do better it's now three pages long. And by the way that's a lot shorter than -- application you have to fill -- for private insurance. Currently. Last year I also asked congress for the authority to reorganize and consolidate the federal bureaucracy. We're doing a lot of this work administratively. But unfortunately. There are still a bunch of rules. A lot of legislation. That. As poorly designed -- agencies and forces folks to engage in. Bure. Bureaucratic. -- Hoop jumping. Instead of just going have been focusing on mission and delivering good service to -- citizens. So what we investors -- clean this up let's consolidated. Almost every president from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan. Had this important. To redesign the federal government the executive branch to deliver services better. Just like every business owner seeking to make sure that his or her company keep pace with the times. Currently we do not have that capacity. And so I'm gonna keep on doing what we can. Administratively. But we sure could use Congress's help particularly at a time when congress is saying they want more efficient government. They give a lot of lip service to a and were operating under severe. Fiscal constraints. It makes sense for us to be able to redesign. Government. So that it can deliver on the functions that American people are looking for. We should all want a government -- smarter quicker and more responsive to the needs of the American people. -- good news is America is full of talented dedicated public servants. Or working really hard every day to uphold the public trust. And those of us who believe the government has a responsibility to guarantee some. Level of basic security. And make sure everybody gets a fair shot at success from -- entrepreneur or wants to start a business to the workers -- work in that business. We also have a responsibility to make sure that government works. And that's why I'm glad that we've got people like Scott declared -- and so many other talented idealistic men and women. Who signed up to help us tackle these challenges that's why we're so proud. The -- going to be heading this up. I'm going to be asking more people around the country more and better isn't until the doors and visionaries to sign up to serve. We've got to have the brightest minds to help solve our biggest challenges. And it's a reminder that in this democracy. We the people. Recognize that this government belongs to us and it's up to each of us and everyone of us to make it work better. We -- just its stand on the -- We can take comfort in just being cynical. We all have a stake. In. Government's success. Because the government as us. And we're we're doing things right. When we're tracking whether more effectively that saves lives. For folks who were in the path for tornado. When were delivering. Effectively data on improved health care choices. That's gonna save lives and reduce costs. And and and we've got the potential. To do so much better than we're going right now. But we're gonna need help. Private sector non for profits. Most of ball we want to make sure the -- -- Some of the folks we're sitting here today to make sure that they can deliver on the cut -- 20% for government the American people want. So thank you were much -- but -- if you -- good work. Initiative to make government more efficient and it -- wearing one highlight away from that technology seemed to be the underlying. Driver behind -- I want to bring an ABC's Mary Bruce is at the white house with reaction to that Mary what was the big standout point for you from that announcement. Just say this president trying to show that he's taking charge you heard him touting a lot what his administration has done what they plan to do. We didn't -- as many announcements -- actually coming out announcing anything new except to say that they're gonna work -- they're continuing to work on this kind of scolding congress -- -- for not working enough with him. This isn't trying to show hey look at me I'm taking charge we're taking action on this -- And I wanted to ask you about that because obviously gridlock in DC has unfortunately become synonymous CE is this a way that the kind of rally the GOP to say look. Smaller government often -- seems to be what you're pushing for. Let's work on this together. That's exactly right -- -- another chance for him to say hey I'm making you know I'm taking a step -- -- take a step towards me let's compromise let's work together. I don't know whether or not actually gonna see anything come from -- I'm not so optimistic about that but it -- the chance for him to come out publicly and to show that he's. He's at least trying to work with the Republicans and just sort of -- them a bit and -- -- -- meet -- -- Everyone is looking at what the government is spending -- obviously what the government is making obviously in a form of taxes today though. Is the first date eleven unpaid furloughs for the military 650000. -- paid military personnel. Have -- a -- today is today's announcement somewhat coincided in the timing. With that. It just seems a little too convenient doesn't it I wouldn't be surprised at all if this was an intentional move on their part to sort of trying counterbalance that a bit. To show that they're taking action on this at the same -- the people are seeing those headlines of these massive numbers of furloughs taking effect there have been furloughs across the federal government all summer. This -- -- -- hit particularly close to home for a lot of Americans and I think this is a chance for them to say. You know fear not they're they're trying to take some action here at the White House to -- balance of -- I want to ask you. It made a remark about this as well during the president's announcement this morning and that he used a PowerPoint not his first PowerPoint presentation but obviously. Certainly driving on -- point that technology seems to be something that the president wants to embrace. Certainly -- add course you saw those PowerPoint -- up next and he's trying to show how high tech an administration is that it certainly helps to have. Some slides next -- although I will say they were the most high tech now points like that ever seen it's not something unusual here at the White House occasionally they they bring up those slides -- -- but I think it's with a chance for him to underscore again. To check out how high tech -- can be. Indeed tell me a little bit about these 43 in a big innovation fellows that are across the country now in these are these are private sector individuals that are. Coming up with ways kind of cut -- -- in the government. Exactly the president mentioned several of these individuals that -- they like to say sort of which -- what's possible out -- probing how the private sector can get involved in in helping to streamline some of these efforts. And -- -- who might have noticed she's -- the press a little bit saying that he hopes that we pay more attention to them as well but they're showing some of what's possible and that we should take notice. Let me ask you this because and you put it of the fact that there didn't seem to be a lot of substances some way of announcement on their the president did -- make -- an example of saying that. The government has saved about two and a half billion dollars by reducing overlap in IT in information technology systems that the government has in place right now. Is that enough of a sales pitch to get some kind of break the gridlock in DC. I doubt it. I think this has been a long priority for his administration since he came into office he said that he is wanted to harness technology to help streamline government to make it more efficient ever wants a -- -- come out and tout that the steps that his administration has made this is a chance for him to say. It's still a priority in his second term this is what they're gonna do going forward but I don't think you'll see -- outcomes from any of us how does the White House. About connecting sort of the everyday American that may not use technology to the extent that obviously the president uses or so many other people in Washington DCU's. Partly how how does the White House gonna get that message across the -- -- saying in effect and innovation technology in this kind of streamlined process. -- is in fact beneficial for so many people. This is a very high tech White House we heard the president say the top of his remarks -- his campaign and enabled -- harness some of that technology we know that his campaign was known. For using Twitter FaceBook every app you can think of to -- -- get out the vote and then they're trying to use those same technologies here here at the White House and to use those to interact with average Americans. And not just voters anymore he's running anymore so now he's trying to use every power available to him. To reach out to Americans and we see that through their FaceBook page or Twitter page that First Lady has an answer Rampage they're using every possible thing available to trying connect with the -- American all right ABC's Mary Bruce outside the White House for us Mary thank you so much for your time the president's and we've got the potential to do. Much better after that announcement this morning on -- Monday. Talk about the way in which he would like the government to be more efficient and including more innovation in the way that the systems. Operate DC and the country where the complete report on For now I'm Dan Butler in New York with his ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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