The Obama administration is moving to cut federal spending at agencies across the government, NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.
Peter R. Orszag, the director of the the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), made the announcement earlier today, at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank.
In a memorandum, delivered this morning, Orszag and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel ordered non-security agencies to identify their worst-performing programs, to cut their budgets by five percent.
Orszag criticized redundancy in the federal government, pointing to more than 110 programs that fund math and science education, for example, and more than 100 programs that support youth mentoring.
According to The Washington Post, which obtained an advance copy of his remarks, Orszag said "this redundancy wastes resources and makes it harder to act on each of these worthy goals."
In the middle of primary season, as mid-term elections approach, Republicans have criticized the Obama administration for spending more than the country can afford.
"With voters increasingly alarmed about the run of red ink, and with midterm congressional elections approaching, the White House has stepped up efforts to blunt criticism," The Post reports.
The new directive is the latest in a series of initiatives, legislative proposals and veto threats in recent weeks aimed at demonstrating that Obama is minding every penny.
The federal deficit is projected to reach $1.6 billion this year.