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One of Obama's Final Acts Made Presidential Innovation Fellows Program Permanent

President Barack Obama signs the three-month highway funding bill, Friday, July 31, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

President Barack Obama signs the three-month highway funding bill, Friday, July 31, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. // Carolyn Kaster/AP

In one of his last actions as the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama made permanent a program that brings out-of-the-box thinkers into government for short-term rotations.

Shortly before leaving the White House permanently, Obama signed a law that codifies the Presidential Innovation Fellows program; fellows, often specializing in technology, usually serve between 6-month and 2-year terms.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had reintroduced the Tested Ability to Leverage Exceptional National Talent, or TALENT, Act earlier this month. The law makes the PIF program the responsibility of the General Services Administration.

“We live in a time of incredible technological advancements … yet far too many government institutions have failed to keep up, creating a frustrating disconnect between how people live their lives and how government functions,” McCarthy wrote in a LinkedIn blog post announcing the reintroduction.

Obama signed an executive order in 2015 to the same effect, tasking GSA with overseeing the program, and moving to making the PIF program permanent.

“My hope is this continues to encourage a culture of public service among our innovators, and tech entrepreneurs, so that we can keep building a government that’s as modern, as innovative and as engaging" as the tech sector is, Obama said in a statement then.

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