Agriculture chief touts $1.4B in savings

Agriculture chief touts $1.4B in savings
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The Agriculture Department (USDA) has cut $1.4 billion in spending over the last three years, Secretary Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE announced Wednesday.

Vilsack touted his “Blueprint for Stronger Service” initiative, which was launched in 2012 to find savings within the department and to modernize its operations.

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“Through our Blueprint for Stronger Service strategy, we took a hard look at our programs and practices and made proactive, cost-saving changes that are innovative and commonsense,” Vilsack said in a statement Wednesday.

“The result is $1.4 billion in savings without sacrificing service to the American public—a clear victory for our customers, the taxpayer and our Department's future.”

The cuts stem from consolidating agencies and offices, ending planned construction projects, reducing the number of subscriptions to publications and promoting the option of teleworking for department employees, among other things.

Since 2010, the USDA says Congress has reduced the department’s budget by 10 percent.