Dir. Lew: Improper federal payments on the decline
Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew called a reduction in improper federal payments "good stewardship."
November 15th, 2011
04:38 PM ET

Dir. Lew: Improper federal payments on the decline

Following up on an executive order signed by the president in 2009, Obama administration officials held a conference call today to announce their progress in reducing “improper payments” made by the federal government. Totaling $116 billion in fiscal year 2011, improper payments are defined as payments made by the federal government either in the wrong amount, to the wrong person, or for the wrong reason.

“At a time when our most critical programs – economic programs, social safety net programs – are experiencing tighter and tighter budgets, it's particularly imperative that we not tolerate such errors,” Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew said on the call.

Today Lew announced that in FY 2011 the federal government cut improper payments by $18 billion and recaptured $1.2 billion in erroneous payments. When combined with the numbers from FY 2010, the government has prevented nearly $21 billion in improper payments and recaptured over $1.9 billion, Lew said.

Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius and Arne Duncan as well as Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan also participated in the call, outlining efforts underway at their respective agencies to reduce payments made in error.

But OMB officials urged caution in how these numbers are interpreted. The government does deem a payment improper if it has paid too much, but also if it has paid too little or even if it has simply made an error in documenting what the payment was for. Meaning that ultimately not all of the money saved or recaptured goes to paying down the deficit, or even returns to the program to which it was originally allocated. FULL POST

Topics: Jack Lew • OMB
CNN poll:  Obama ranks low among recent incumbents
November 15th, 2011
03:31 PM ET

CNN poll: Obama ranks low among recent incumbents

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's overall approval rating remains in the mid-40s, where it has been since July, and he continues to receive much higher marks for foreign policy than for domestic issues, according to a new national survey out one year before he is up for re-election.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday indicates that 52% of all Americans approve of how the president is handling the situation in Iraq, an indication that Americans tend to favor Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from that country by year's end. Forty-eight percent of those questioned approve of how he is handling the war in Afghanistan. By contrast, only 35% have a positive view of his economic track record, and just 38% approve of how he is handling health care policy.

Full results (pdf)

It all adds up to an overall 46% approval rating for the president, with 52% saying they disapprove of how Obama is handling his job in the White House.

full story

Topics: Poll • President Obama
November 15th, 2011
03:24 PM ET

President Obama heads to Australia

President Obama is on his way to Australia.   During his two day visit to he will announce a new military partnership between the two countries.   White House correspondent Brianna Keilar takes a look at the visit and the announcement.

Topics: Military • The News