Trump Directs Department Heads to Trim Agency Fat

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order that directs executive branch department heads to eliminate redundancies and trim functions that would be better performed by the states.

As a candidate Trump routinely promised to cut the federal budget by eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse,” and Monday’s executive order appears intended to be a step towards that end.

The order directs the head of each department to submit a plan to reorganize their agency to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who would then publish a notice asking for suggestions from the public to improve” the organization and functioning of the executive branch.”

Mulvaney then must submit his own plan to “improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of agencies,” and could include calls to shrink or outright eliminate current federal agencies, according to the order released Monday afternoon.

“We have assembled one of the greatest Cabinets in history and I believe that so strongly,” Trump told reporters on Monday. “And we want to empower them to make their agencies as lean and effective as possible and they know how to do it.”

The order directs Mulvaney to include in his plan recommendations to “eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs,” and to look for places where state and local governments might be able to perform a job now taken on by a federal agency.

It also orders Mulvaney to consider “whether the costs of continuing to operate an agency, a component, or a program are justified by the public benefits it provides,” and to consult with agency heads and people outside of the government when developing his plan.

Trump is set to release his budget proposal sometime this week and is expected to call for deep cuts to or the elimination of some federal agencies, most notably the Environmental Protection Agency.

Trump signed the executive order just as the Congressional Budget Office was releasing its report on the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

While otherwise panned across Washington, some Republicans have latched on to the report’s finding that their healthcare bill would cut the federal deficit by $337 billion between 2017 and 2026.

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