White House Issues EO Aimed at Agency Reorgs, Eliminations

March 13 2017–President Trump issued an executive order today that directs the head of the Office of Management and Budget to propose a plan that would “reorganize government functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs.” The EO does not mention any particular agencies or programs that might be targeted in the reorganization effort.

A spokesman for the FCC said the agency will review the executive order, but had no immediate comment on whether Chairman Ajit Pai sees the order as applying to the Commission, which is an independent agency. According to the text of the order, the head of each executive branch agency is required to submit to OMB within 180 days “a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency.”

In addition, OMB will seek public comment through a notice in the “Federal Register” regarding “improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch” and will “consider” those suggestions in formulating a reorganization plan to be submitted to the president within 180 days after the closing of the “Federal Register” comment period.

OMB’s proposal to the president, according to the EO, shall include, “as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions.”  The proposal will also include recommendations for any legislative or administrative action necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization.

In developing the reorganization proposal, OMB will consider factors including whether agency functions, programs, and administrative capabilities are “redundant” with those of other agencies; whether the costs of operating agencies and programs are “justified by the public benefit” they provide; the costs of shutting down or merging agencies “including the costs of addressing the equities of affected agency staff”; and “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.”

Finally, the EO says that OMB will, in developing the proposal, 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.” – John Curran, john.curran@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily