Q&A: Fiscal Summit

over the last decade or so, we’ve overdone, in some cases, outsourcing of critical federal requirements, and that means that in many cases we spend more to hire a contractor or a non-federal worker than we would pay to invest in federal workers.

And so there was universal — Republican, Democrat, House and Senate, even — (laughter) — that during this administration we need to assess where we can re-federalize some parts of the workforce, particularly when it came to people who do get procurement and oversee the procurement.

Also, that we do have a system which is disadvantageous to someone remaining in the federal workforce.  Our retirement system pays you less and less the longer you stay.  Yours is (inaudible), by the way, one day when you get your retirement.  (Laughter.)  But the accrual system in fact causes people to leave the federal workforce to double-dip, rather than being encouraged, either during their working time or if we ask them to stay on past their retirement.

So those areas were areas I think we had good common — your folks, Janet took a lot of notes, so I think you’re going to see that we have areas where our committees could work with you to make those changes.  And they are legislative changes that could save us money.

THE PRESIDENT:  Which I think would be terrific.  I mean, that’s the kind of stuff — it’s not sexy, but it ends up, over time, making enormous progress.

Anybody else that just wants to — go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. President.  I just want to bring up that in the health care, we talked a lot about individuals and the systems of health care that we have, and looking for places that we can cut.  But as a community organizer I know that you know that investing in the community — we look at the models across the world and the models in our country where health care prevails to be the strongest and where people live the longest, it’s because they have a community that has — of support, and a community (inaudible) of health care.

And I think if we look at access issues for those from Native American communities like mine, or rural America or other places that create that access with community support and have the right mid-level service providers and others that can reach to the smaller communities across America.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s important.  Yes, go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, thank you for having us here at the White House.  I’m going to take a little bit different approach.  Senator Baucus mentioned it and Chairman Rangel mentioned it –the need for bipartisanship, and I think the House Republicans have shown that when we’re not included in the decision-making, we’re disinclined to sign off on the solution.

And it’s very easy in the House — it’s set up to get things done quickly if the majority is united — to forget about the minority.  But if you really want consensus, I would encourage you to encourage the Speaker to have a true open

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