President Obama Putting Name to Executive Memo Designed to Overhaul Federal Contracting System

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has approved an order to overhaul the way the U.S. government awards contracts for work to be done by the private sector.

Obama joined Republican Sen. John McCain, his presidential campaign rival, and other congressional figures Wednesday to announce an executive memorandum that commits his administration to a new set of marching orders for awarding contracts. Obama said "the days of giving government contractors a blank check are over" and said changes could save up to $40 billion a year.

One area in particular that is targeted is no-bid contracts, which the administration is seeking to change so that there will be more competition for government-paid work.

Obama said that "even if these were the best of times, budget reform would be overdue in Washington."

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