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President Trump Recommends Government Reform and Reorganization

June 29, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Last week, President Trump rolled out his proposal to reform the executive Branch’s organizational structures. The proposal’s stated goal is to reduce “duplication and redundancy” while improving the “efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the Executive Branch.” Redundancy within organizational structures is evidenced by the fact that a cheese pizza at a restaurant is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services within the Food and Drug administration while a pepperoni pizza is regulated by the Food Safety Inspection Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The proposal seeks to eliminate such overlapping jurisdiction between departments by recommending thirty-two specific reforms. The suggested changes include:

* Merging the Departments of Labor and Education into a single department entitled the Department of Education and the Workforce. The new department would contain four sub-agencies: K-12, Higher Education/Workforce Development, Enforcement, and Research/Evaluation/Administration. These agencies would focus on ensuring that educational goals align with the actual needs of the workforce.

* Merging non-commodity nutrition assistance programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children)—which are part of USDA—with HHS (Health and Human Services). HHS would then be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare. The newly named department would house the newly-created Council on Public Assistance which would coordinate with all federal public assistance programs while having statutory authority to set cross-program policies such as uniform work requirements.

* Transferring the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works (Corps) from the Department of Defense (DOD) to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of the interior (DOI). The navigation aspects of the Corps work would be transferred to the DOT while issues like water management and ecosystem restoration would be transferred to the DOI.

* Creating a superagency that would oversee food safety and food inspections, eliminating the fragmented approach currently in use. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would become a single agency within the USDA called the Federal Food Safety Agency.

* Consolidating the various programs within the Department of Energy (DOE) into two main offices within the DOE. The first office, the Office of Energy Innovation, would be tasked with all parts of research and development. The second office, the Office of

Energy Resources and Economic Strategy, would focus on encouraging multi-dimensional decision-making while also developing strategies to preserve U.S. energy supremacy.

* Selling 50,000 miles of electricity transmission lines currently owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the DOE’s Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) to private companies. This would be done due to the fact that the private sector has shown itself more than capable of meeting the Nation’s electricity needs. Additionally, such a sale would eliminate the Federal Government’s need to pay maintenance costs.

* Restructuring or privatizing the United States Postal Service (USPS). Restructuring would seek to return USPS to a sustainable business model. If USPS was privatized instead, it would likely include strong regulatory oversight to maintain fair competition. A specific plan for restructuring USPS will be released in August 2018.

* Lowering Costs associated with federal property by encouraging agencies to divest themselves of unnecessary real estate, using better strategies to save funds for renovations and building construction, and negotiating longer leases that are non-cancelable. Although agencies are currently discouraged from disposing of unused property by the expensive procedures they have to go through to do so, under the proposed reforms such actions would be encouraged by allowing agencies to keep part of the money from the property’s sale. Better saving strategies would help ensure that costly lease extensions would be kept at a minimum. In addition, longer, non-negotiable leases would be less expenses, saving valuable resources.

* Centralizing programs that assist small businesses through government contract awards by consolidating them within the Small Business Administration (SBA). This would help provide consistency in eligibility requirements, the application process, and recording. It would also simplify the application process, enabling business owners to focus on running their businesses.

* Transitioning from paper records to electronic records within federal agencies. This would be done in an effort to save space, increase information processing speed, and increase transparency to the public. The proposal would seek to complete the switch to electronic records by December 31, 2022.

The Trump Administration is persuaded that by implementing the ideas laid out in the proposed reform and reorganization recommendations, significant savings can be achieved.

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