Following up on his vow in last year's State of the Union address to cut some fat out of the federal bureaucracy, President Barack Obama will today propose combining six trade and commerce-related agencies and offices to save $3 billion over 10 years and reduce the government's payroll by some 1,000 to 2,000 employees, mostly through attrition.
The offices are the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade and Development Agency. A White House official said the move would reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and reduce duplicative effort.
Republican response was hardly unexpected:
Congressional Republicans scoffed at the relatively small scale of Obama’s proposal, saying many more cutbacks are needed to tame the deficit. [...]
“After presiding over one of the largest expansions of government in history, and a year after raising the issue in his last State of the Union, it’s interesting to see the President finally acknowledge that Washington is out of control,” said Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). Stewart said McConnell’s office will review the details of the plan once the White House provides them.
Obama will seek broad authority to consolidate from Congress, but it will also get to vote on each of the proposed mergers. According to the Associated Press, presidents had such authority for about a half century until it was rescinded under Ronald Reagan in 1984.
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