In the Obama administration’s ongoing push to cut printing and paper costs, the White House is ordering federal agencies to cancel print subscriptions to the government’s own journal of official activities.
The move means that about 4,700 fewer editions of the Federal Register will be printed for executive branch agencies, saving the government at least $4 million annually, according to the White House.
The idea to cancel print subscriptions comes from a Federal Bureau of Prisons employee who submitted the idea as part of a White House contest seeking cost-cutting ideas from rank-and-file federal employees.
The winner, Trudy Givens, of Portage, Wis., met with President Obama last month after she beat out 18,000 other submissions to the White House SAVE Award. In her official submission, she noted that rarely-read print editions wasted paper and took up too much space in her office.
As the government implements Givens’s idea, federal agencies have until May 13 to cancel their print subscriptions and begin accessing the Register at FederalRegister.gov. The White House said Monday that visitors accessed the site more than 26 million times last year.
The Register is a compilation of public meeting notices, proposed and final regulations and all presidential documents that publishes every weekday that the federal government is open. Last year’s editions included a total of 82,589 pages, according to the White House.
Though the Government Printing Office prints each copy, about 55 Register employees help produce each edition, according to Michael White, the Register’s managing editor. He said no Register employees will lose their jobs because of the subscription cancellations, because his office draws its funding from the budget of the National Archives. A GPO spokesman could not immediately provide comment.
The subscription cancellations is the latest in a string of similar cost-cutting moves enacted by the administration that are mostly symbolic and do little to cut overall federal spending. Federal employee leave and earning statements are now sent electronically, saving about $4 million annually.
The government this year also started to directly deposit Social Security, veterans and federal retirement payments instead of mailing checks. The White House estimates that the move should save taxpayers about $303 million in the next five years.
Senators are pushing legislation that would save about $8 million annually by forcing GPO to stop printing thousands of print copies of the Congressional Record , its daily compilation of official activity.
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