Posts Tagged ‘Peter Orszag’
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

President Obama on Wednesday signed a  memorandum about finding and recapturing improper payments made by the government.

In the memorandum, Obama said his administration “is committed to reducing payment errors and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in Federal programs” and that federal departments and agencies “should use every tool available to identify and subsequently reclaim the funds associated with improper payments.”

“Reclaiming the funds associated with improper payments is a critical component of the proper stewardship and protection of taxpayer dollars, and it underscores that waste, fraud, and abuse by entities receiving Federal payments will not be tolerated,” according to the memorandum.

The federal government will discover and take steps to recover improper payments through expanded use of  “Payment Recapture Audits.” The memorandum instructs Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag to “develop guidance” within 90 days on how executive departments and agencies should carry the expansion out.

Here is the full memorandum:

Monday, February 1st, 2010

The $29.2 billion Justice Department budget for fiscal 2011 proposed by President Barack Obama on Monday includes $237 million to purchase and upgrade a prison in Illinois to house detainees now housed at the Guantánamo Bay military prison in Cuba, reports The Chicago Sun-Times.

According to The Sun-Times, the State of Illinois and the federal government are currently negotiating over the purchase price of the state-owned, but now vacant, Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois.

Reports The Sun-Times:

In a briefing with reporters on Sunday afternoon previewing the budget — the contents were embargoed until 6 a.m. Eastern time on Monday — White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said the acquisition of Thomson by the federal government would be “warranted” even in the absence of Guantánamo detainees, because more space was needed to house federal maximum security prisoners.

On the call, the briefers used two numbers to discuss the Thomson purchase and security upgrading needed — $250 million and $270 million. Asked to clarify, the Chicago Sun-Times was told the Justice Department fiscal 2011 request will include “$237 million to purchase, modify, and operate Thomson for a full year.

“This should not be viewed as the purchase price alone — it includes the cost of modifying and operating the facility for a year. The negotiation process with the State of Illinois regarding the purchase price is ongoing, and this number builds in flexibility depending on the final appraisals and final negotiated price with the state.”

Here are some of the other highlights from the president’s budget request, which is about $1.5 billion more than the budget that was enacted for fiscal 2010:

  • A $233 million increase for the FBI for national security work, intelligence gathering, technology, information sharing and infrastructure improvements.
  • A $302 million increase for retaining or hiring police officers.
  • A $120 million increase for combating violence against women.
  • $104 million for additional FBI and DOJ employees to investigate major financial fraud.
  • A $91 million increase for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces and the Drug Enforcement Administration to fight drug trafficking on the Southwest border.
  • A $90.3 million increase for national security, infrastructure improvements, and curbing violent and international organized crime.
  • $73 million for transferring, prosecuting and incarcerating Guantánamo Bay detainees.
  • $60 million for more Department of Health and Human Services and DOJ task forces. There are seven task  forces now and the budget request calls for 20.
  • A $23.5 million increase for the U.S. Attorneys to combat economic crimes, “preserve justice through civil enforcement,” E-Discovery and International Organize Crime initiatives.
  • A $17.8 million increase to better combat civil rights crimes.

Read the full DOJ budget request here and a fact sheet on the DOJ budget request here.

A briefing with reporters about the budget is scheduled at Justice Department headquarters in Washington this afternoon.

Andrew Ramonas contributed to this report.

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration have estimated the cost of security operations for the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terrorism suspects connected to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at more than $200 million.

In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, released by the office of the mayor on Wednesday, Bloomberg seeks federal reimbursement for the full costs of providing security for the trials, reports The New York Times.

In the letter, the mayor said the cost for security operations would be $216 million for the first year and $206 million per year in subsequent years. Much of the expense — about $200 million each year — would be for personnel, the mayor wrote.

The rest of the money would be directed to equipment-related expenses of $12.5 million in the first year and $2.5 million in any subsequent years.

Although the mayor stressed that the city needed the “federal government to shoulder the significant costs we will incur and ease this burden,” he did not argue that the trials should not be held in New York.

Mr. Bloomberg also sought to cast the cost estimate in a realistic light, comparing it with the $50 million spent on security for the Republican National Convention in 2004.

The letter was also sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Earlier this week, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced he would request that the Obama administration agree to cover the costs of the trial by including a separate line in its upcoming fiscal year 2011 budget. His press release is reprinted below:

SCHUMER TO OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: FEDS MUST COVER ENTIRE SECURITY COSTS OF NYC TERROR TRIALS – NEED TO PUT SEPARATE LINE IN THIS YEARS BUDGET NOW TO SECURE FUNDING

Federal Terror Trials Set to Begin As Early As This Year Will Require Massive Security Mobilization – Costs to NYPD Could be in the Hundreds of Millions

Senator to Request Obama Administration Include Separate, Ironclad Line in Upcoming Budget

Without Separate Budget Line, Funding Could Well Come Out of Existing Terror Programs, Would “Rob Peter to Pay Paul”

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer will request that the Obama Administration include a separate line in its upcoming Fiscal Year 2011 budget, now being drawn up and set to be released next month, that devotes federal funding to cover the full costs to the NYPD and other local law enforcement of providing security for the upcoming terror trials. The trials, which could begin as early as this year, will require a massive security mobilization and though the FBI and U.S. Marshal service will be the lead the security effort, the supporting role provided by the NYPD could cost the department and the city hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The bottom line is these are federal terror cases that will bring to justice, in federal court, the evil men behind the attack on our nation on 9-11. It‘s common sense that the federal government pay for security costs because these trials will place a significant burden on the NYPD and the city to keep lower Manhattan safe and secure.”

Schumer spoke personally with Budget Director Peter Orszag and Attorney General Holder asking that the Administration include a separate line item dedicating funding to cover the full costs of security to the city, the NYPD, and other local law enforcement. Schumer said a separate line will help ensure that no funding has to be diverted away from other key programs the city relies on.

The U.S. marshals will handle security for the courthouse with the FBI and the NYPD charged with protecting the public and the surrounding area. Security will include 24-hour fixed canine posts and a counterassault team, along with the NYPD’s heavily armed Hercules teams to lock down and sweep the area before suspects are moved from the federal lockup to the courtroom.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

The Justice Department is willing to tighten its belt to save millions of dollars during fiscal year 2010, according to a report released this week by the Office of Management and Budget.

President Obama asked Attorney General Eric Holder and other cabinet members in April to help reduce executive branch spending by $100 million. The White House requested $24 billion for the Justice Department in fiscal year 2010, but DOJ advised OMB that it can employ eight measures to save more than $13.1 million.

According to the OMB, the cost-cutting measures are:

-Computer power management: Many DOJ computers remain on when not in use for prolonged periods. DOJ is configuring these computers to automatically shut-down, which will reduce power consumption and costs.

-Contract restructuring DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture Program recently restructured a contract providing paralegal support and other administrative support services. As a result of the contract’s restructuring, planned increases to the hourly rates for supervisory paralegals was avoided.

-Credit card files: DOJ is streamlining its process for paying credit card bills, saving an estimated $2 million annually.

-Earnings and leave statements: The National Finance Center provides DOJ a number of payroll services, including bi-weekly distribution of earning and leave statements. Currently, most DOJ personnel receive their earning and leave statement in hard copy. DOJ is now converting distribution of earnings and leave statements to electronic form, reducing service costs.

-Interpreter services: DOJ’s Executive Office of Immigration Review manages a large contract for interpreter services needed during immigration proceedings. This contract was recently recompeted, and the hourly rates charged to DOJ were reduced.

-Online travel booking: DOJ is requiring personnel to make travel reservations online, rather than through travel agents.

-Paper and toner conservation: A large number of DOJ copiers and printers can be configured to automatically print double-sided. Increasing the frequency of double-sided printing will reduce paper consumption and lower costs.

-Procurement consolidation: DOJ has consolidated the mobile communications needs of many DOJ bureaus into one contract. This consolidation has increased the number of users on the contract, thereby reducing costs. DOJ’s U.S. Trustees recently competed its mobile communications contract and obtained lower prices by taking advantage of this consolidated contract.

Program

FY 2009 Savings

FY 2010 Savings (if available)

Total Savings (2009/2010, plus out years if available)

Computer power management

$35,000

$35,000

Contract restructuring

$1,400,000

$1,400,000

Credit card files

$2,000,000

$2,000,000

Earnings and leave statements

$890,000

$890,000

Interpreter services

$3,000,000

$3,000,000

Online travel booking

$4,000,000

$4,000,000

Paper and toner conservation

$143,000

$430,000

$573,000

Procurement consolidation

$1,350,000

$1,350,000

TOTAL

$143,000

$13,105,000

$13,248,000

Although the savings would only be a drop in the bucket, OMB Director Peter Orszag said the measures would help the executive branch get more bang for its taxpayer buck.

“These savings reflect the president’s belief that even small savings can add up,” Orszag wrote in a blog post on the OMB Web site.