Browsing: Economic Stimulus

Coverage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – the nearly-$800 billion stimulus package designed to jump-start the economy.

Got Ideas?

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Following on the earlier theme of open government and sharing ideas, FedLine brings you more ways you can contribute to President Obama’s national discussion on improving government. Today the White House, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and the National Academy of Public Administration launched a site to gather input on how information technology can bring greater transparency to recovery spending. The week long “National Dialogue” is soliciting ideas from the public on what Recovery.gov should do and how it should do it. Topics include data collection, data storage, data analysis, data presentation, Web site design, and waste, fraud and abuse…

GSA's $5.5 billion stimulus plan

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Update: The General Services Administration has posted the stimulus plan on its Recovery Act website. The 13-page plan can be accessed here. Original post: The General Services Administration just announced that it’s decided how it will spend the $5.5 billion in stimulus funds it received. Congress directed that $4.5 billion go toward converting federal buidlings to high-performance green facilities. Another $750 million is available for building and renovating federal buildings and courthouses, and $300 million must be directed to renovating and constructing land ports of entry. GSA said it’s selected projects based on the speed at which jobs can be…

1-800-FRAUD

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Well, not exactly. But the Government Accountability Office has set up a hotline to track stimulus fraud, and the agency is asking everyone — feds, contractors and private citizens — to report waste and abuse. GAO is one of the agencies tasked with overseeing billions of dollars in stimulus spending, which would be a difficult task even if the agency had no other responsibilities. “The public can help to identify improper activities or weaknesses in programs that warrant scrutiny,” said Gene Dodaro, the acting comptroller general. Here’s the contact information for FraudNet, GAO’s new hotline: By phone: 1-800-424-5454 By fax:…

Gearing up for grants

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Can agencies handle the upcoming crush of stimulus grant applications? Apparently Grants.gov is already seeing a big spike in traffic. So OMB director Peter Orszag wants agencies to review their grant systems and make improvements to handle the increased workload. The deadline for that review is Friday. “We want to make sure that the systems are in place to handle what everyone expects will be an unprecedented number of grant applications,” Orszag said. I wonder, though, if some agencies will be reluctant to invest a lot of time and money in adding new capacity to their grants systems — because…

Clouds and feeds

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Just finished a conference call with Vivek Kundra, the president’s pick for chief information officer. A few highlights. First, he promised to embrace cloud computing — which uses networked software distributed across remote servers, not on individual desktops — whenever it’s permissible under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and other security regulations. Cloud computing has been hugely successful in the private sector (Facebook and Gmail, for example, use a “cloud” model) but government has yet to really embrace it. I reject the view that the public sector has to lag behind the private sector. Kundra also promised to…

Seal of approval

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My friends in advertising tell me branding is the key to selling anything. If that’s true, then the Obama administration must have some great sales gurus on staff. The president mandated today that all stimulus projects carry the snazzy seal you see below. It seems President Obama wants this emblem to be his seal of approval, showing government’s accountability to taxpayers for the billions being spent on projects to stimulate the economy. Here is what he had to say at the Transportation Department today: These emblems are symbols of our commitment to you, the American people — a commitment to investing your tax…

Orszag: Sufficient numbers of procurement personnel a must

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Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag told agency officials gathered for the first recovery plan implementation meeting today to make sure they have enough contracting and acquisition personnel to oversee stimulus spending. In addition to following the reporting guidelines he laid out in 62 pages last week, Orszag said: I would identify the need for sufficient numbers of acquisition and contract officers to oversee the money flowing through the system, to make sure that it is well spent. Earl Devaney, who was named the chair of the Recovery Transparency and Accountability Board earlier this week, expressed similar sentiments:…

White House Fiscal Responsibility Summit: The Procurement Session

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In case you haven’t heard the White House held a fiscal responsibility summit today. One of the sessions was on procurement. White House pool reporter Jon Ward of the Washington Times braved what he called a “wonky session” to bring us the following nuggets: Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., will introduce a bill to require the Defense Department to reexamine contracts when costs exceed 25 percent of original estimates. Levin said the military must stop trying to add the latest technology and accept what they have to prevent cost hikes and delays. Deputy Secretary of State for Management, Jack Lew, said government…

Recovery Act solicitations hit the street

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Federal agencies are wasting no time advertising new business opportunities created under the economic stimulus package, which became law last Tuesday. Here is what Federal Times has found on FedBizOpps so far: On Feb. 18, the day after President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Navy issued a solicitation for a $400 million small business construction contract. This multiple award contract will be awarded to five small businesses. The businesses will be hired to perform new construction, repair, demolition and renovation projects at Navy facilities worldwide. Those projects will be funded through stimulus package appropriations. On…

Earl Devaney, SIGSTIM

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A couple of tidbits about stimulus oversight. First, the president just announced Earl Devaney as the inspector general for the stimulus program. The name might sound familiar: Devaney has been the Interior Department’s IG since 1999, and he led some big investigations — the Jack Abramoff scandal and the MMS scandal, to name a couple. He’ll undoubtedly have his hands full with the new job (can we call him the SIGSTIM?). Second, the Interior Department will announce its own “stimulus czar” this week. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters the yet-to-be-named official is someone with lots of oversight experience. The…