In last year's State of the Union speech, President Obama promised to reorganize the government by consolidating agencies that had duplicative functions or otherwise overlapped. Of course, that plan fell by the wayside after the Administration spent much of the next six months in budget negotiations involving appropriations and the debt limit. After that was over, there were no mentions of the reorganization plan, and it seemed to have been abandoned...until now.
As part of a push for Congress to allow the President a fast-track authority to reorganize the executive branch, President Obama announced a plan today to merge six semi-related offices/agencies in the Commerce Department. The Administration estimates the changes would save $3 billion over ten years on overhead and could eliminate the need for about 1,000 federal jobs. The specific offices are: Commerce Department core functions, the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade and Development Agency.
In light of the tight limits we have imposed on discretionary spending, efforts that make the government run more efficiently while preserving necessary functionality are welcome. Just as we said about the IRS yesterday, reducing the necessary expenses to run the government will free up funds to spend on other priorities.