Trump's Budget Chief to Federal Agencies: Time to ‘Drain the Swamp’

(AP)

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday that President Trump is using his business experience to cut the fat on Capitol Hill, even taking suggestions from American citizens on how to make agencies run more efficiently as the White House lifted its federal hiring freeze.

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“We’re actually trying to bring this business attitude towards the way we run the government,” he said during an interview with Fox & Friends Wednesday morning.

The hiring freeze, one of Trump’s first acts in office, was part of a longer-term White House plan aimed at decreasing the size of the government. The ban will be replaced with a “smart hiring plan,” which requires each agency to reorganize itself in compliance with the larger goals of the administration and the budget.

“Some folks are going to be allowed to hire back, especially in areas where the president wants to do more. But in other areas where he wants to do less, and that’s a lot of the federal government, we’re going to have these more strategic surgical reductions in the workforce,” Mulvaney said Wednesday.

The Trump administration’s budget calls for across the board cuts to a number of agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, the State Department and the Department of Commerce. Mulvaney told the press he expected the EPA, Department of Defense and the VA to be most affected by this new guidance. While the EPA will likely have to cut jobs in accordance with calls for a 31 percent reduction in funding, the Defense Department (9 percent increase) and Department of Veterans Affairs (6 percent increase) will likely be increasing headcount.

Each agency is expected to deliver its reorganization plan to the White House by June, and the plans will be presented to the president in September.

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This directive follows President Trump’s March 13 executive order asking agencies to turn inward and look for ways to trim fat and reduce waste. Mulvaney, a known deficit hawk, has been working with the president on eliminating wasteful bureaucracy and streamlining government.

The president has also insisted that removing burdensome regulations will spur economic growth. Trump took aim at Dodd-Frank Tuesday during a summit with twenty business leaders and CEOs, where he promised a “major streamlining” and “perhaps elimination” of the prominent financial regulation.

While Mulvaney wouldn’t elaborate on how many federal jobs he expects to be added or eliminated as a result of the administration’s reorganization, he did say “we could run the government more efficiently than the previous administration, and with fewer people." He also called government restructuring “the biggest story no one is talking about.”

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