Paid for by Obama for Americathat all contract orders over $25,000 be competitively awarded unless the contracting officer provides written justification that the order falls within a specified exception and that the requirements and evaluation criteria areclear for every contract.
Sunlight Before Signing:
Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the publichas the opportunity to review them. As president, Barack Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill withoutgiving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days. Inaddition to ensuring that the public has the ability to review legislation, the sunlight will help ensure thatearmarks tucked into appropriations bills are exposed. And Obama will sign legislation in the light of daywithout attaching signing statements that undermine the legislative intent.
Reverse Policy of Secrecy:
President Bush has overseen an unprecedented rise in official secrecy. In 2005, hisadministration classified 14.2 million documents, a fourfold increase since 1995. Bush’s administration hasinvoked the “state secrets” privilege to withhold documents 39 times since 2001. In comparison, at the height of the Cold War, the privilege was only used six times between 1953 and 1976. As president, Barack Obama willreverse this policy of secrecy. He will institute a national declassification center – based upon therecommendation of the Moynihan Commission on Secrecy – with a mission to streamline declassification. TheDeclassification Center will serve as a clearinghouse to set rules and regulations for declassification for federalagencies, and to make declassification secure but routine, efficient, and cost-effective.
III. BRING AMERICANS BACK INTO THEIR GOVERNMENT
People who care deeply about issues in Washington but live outside the Beltway rarely have the opportunity toquestion and interact with government agencies. Messages are filtered through the media, and many times thehard questions are not asked. Barack Obama will bring democracy and policy directly to the people. An ObamaAdministration will:
Century Fireside Chats:
Obama will require his Cabinet officials to have periodic nationalbroadband town hall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies.
Make White House Communications Public:
Obama would amend Executive Order 12866 to ensure thatcommunications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White Housestaff are disclosed to the public. The Obama White House would invoke its executive privilege to protect theconfidentiality of communications concerning national security and similar traditionally sensitive matters,not to withhold information about private interests’ communication on regulatory policy.
Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public:
Every day, government agencies make decisions thataffect Americans’ lives. These decisions should be informed by public deliberation and input, but at manyagencies, these deliberations are conducted out of the public view. Obama will require his appointees wholead the Executive Branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of theagency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet as the agencies debate anddeliberate the issues that affect American society.
Release Presidential Records
: Under the Presidential Records Act, presidential records are supposed to bereleased to the public 12 years after the end of a presidential administration. In November 2001, PresidentBush issued an order that gave current and former presidents and vice presidents broad authority to withholdpresidential records or delay their release indefinitely. As president, Barack Obama will nullify the Bushorder and establish procedures to ensure the timely release of presidential records.
IV. SUPPORT CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
Barack Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way toreduce the influence of moneyed special interests. Obama introduced public financing legislation in the IllinoisState Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Feingold’s bill to reform the presidentialpublic financing system. In February 2007, Obama proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the publicfinancing system in the 2008 election. His plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraisingtruce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election.