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Published on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

President Trump Keeping Promise for a Smaller Government

On Monday March 13th, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) to begin a comprehensive look at reorganizing the Executive Branch of government.  This EO provides the framework of a holistic and detailed approach to what the executive branch might look like in the future.  The implications of this EO are significant.  As previously reported, the Heritage Foundation’s document, “A Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017”, recommends a proposed budget that cuts a number of agencies and programs while limiting other agencies’ activities. 

President Trump, during the 2016 presidential campaign, stated he would go after waste in his first 100 days. With issuance of the EO, he is following up on his campaign pledge.   "Based on this input we will develop a plan to make the federal government work better, reorganizing, consolidating and eliminating where necessary," President Trump said. He added there is "duplication and redundancy everywhere," with "billions and billions of dollars" being wasted on activities that do not deliver results.

The EO states:

Section 1.  Purpose.  This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs.

Section 2.  Proposed Plan to Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability of Federal Agencies, Including, as Appropriate, to Eliminate or Reorganize Unnecessary or Redundant Federal Agencies. 

(a)  Within 180 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency.

(b)  The Director shall publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch and shall consider the suggestions when formulating the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section.

(c)  Within 180 days after the closing date for the submission of suggestions pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the Director shall submit to the President a proposed plan to reorganize the executive branch in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of agencies.  The proposed plan shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions.  The proposed plan shall include recommendations for any legislation or administrative measures necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization.

(d)  In developing the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section, the Director shall consider, in addition to any other relevant factors:

(i)  Whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are appropriate for the Federal Government or would be better left to State or local governments or to the private sector through free enterprise;

(ii)  Whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are redundant, including with those of another agency, component, or program;

(iii)  Whether certain administrative capabilities necessary for operating an agency, a component, or a program are redundant with those of another agency, component, or program;

(iv)  Whether the costs of continuing to operate an agency, a component, or a program are justified by the public benefits it provides; and

(v)  The costs of shutting down or merging agencies, components, or programs, including the costs of addressing the equities of affected agency staff.

(e) In developing the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section, the Director shall consult with the head of each agency and, consistent with applicable law, with persons or entities outside the Federal Government with relevant expertise in organizational structure and management. 

Section 3.  General Provisions. 

(a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)  The authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  The functions of the Director relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Under this EO, a number of federal agencies could be considered redundant and therefore closed or merged into other agencies.  The president said he wanted to empower his cabinet to make their agencies "as lean and effective as possible."   ASE will keep you updated on this matter.


Source:  Government Executive 3/13/17

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