President Trump signing Monday’s order to reorganize the executive branch. (Screen shot via AP)
President Trump signed yet another executive order Monday, immediately inciting concern in Washington, D.C. that federal agencies could be eliminated by the Trump administration.
The order, which lays out a “comprehensive plan for reorganizing the executive branch,” gives the Director of the Office of Management and Budget one year to “propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies.” Although brief, the order notes that the budget director will consider the positions of the public in deciding how to “reorganize” agencies in the executive branch. Whether a program is considered “appropriate” or “redundant” is left to the discretion of Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, who has been described as “a fiscal hawk.”
The new order quickly sparked criticism. “Quite simply, this empowers [Trump] and his advisers simply to eviscerate the federal agencies that might inconvenience them by actually acting like they’re part of the government or something,” argued Charles P. Pierce of Esquire. “This ‘reorganization’ of the executive departments sounds very much like how a polar bear ‘reorganizes’ your innards prior to making a meal of you.”
However, USA Today notes that “the president has little power to reorganize executive agencies on his own, so Trump’s reorganization plan will need support from Congress to be implemented.”
Some government watchdogs expressed some worry over Mulvaney’s new responsibilities. “I think this plan is different from the other plans because in the past, the agency heads were not asked to submit this plan by themselves,” Thomas Schatz, the president of Citizens Against Government Waste, told USA Today.
Trump, however, argued Monday that he has “one of the greatest cabinets in history,” and he hopes to “empower them to make their agencies as lean and effective as possible and they know how to do it.”
“Today there is duplication and redundancy everywhere,” he continued. “Billions and billions of dollars are being wasted.”
Read the “Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch” in its entirety below.
—Posted by Emma Niles
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COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR REORGANIZING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
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.
Sec. 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.
Sec. 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.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
March 13, 2017.