Trump administration proposes merger of Education, Labor Departments
President Trump’s administration unveiled a wide-ranging set of proposals Thursday to boost government efficiency and accountability, including merging the Education and Labor Departments and privatizing the Postal Service (USPS).
The proposals, released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), stem from Trump’s executive order last year to find ways to reform government.
“The federal government is bloated, opaque, bureaucratic, and inefficient. President Trump understands the frustration felt by hard-working Americans,” OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said in a statement. “I am eager to work with my colleagues across the executive branch and in Congress to deliver a more trusted and efficient government that puts the American taxpayer first.”
OMB said many of the proposals could be carried out via executive action, though some will require congressional approval.
Here are some of the highlights from the report:
The United States Postal Service has been bleeding red ink for years. During its most recent fiscal year, which ended in September, the USPS reported total annual revenue of $69.7 billion, which was less than the $71.4 billion recorded in fiscal year 2016. The last time USPS recorded a profit was more than a decade ago.
The president has been critical of the Postal Service, particularly regarding its relationship with e-commerce giant Amazon.
The government is expected to make recommendations on privatization reforms in August. It promises to maintain strong regulatory oversight of the agency to ensure fair competition and prices for customers
Merge Departments of Labor and Education
Merging the two departments into a Department of Education and Workforce would eliminate duplication, according to OMB, by allowing the government to address the “skill needs of American students and workers in a coordinated way.”
Form “Department of Health and Public Welfare”
This new department would oversee non-commodity nutrition assistance programs, currently under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additionally, the OMB proposes establishing a Council on Public Assistance, which would include all agencies that administer public benefits and would have the authority to establish work requirements and other cross-program policies.
Merge food safety agencies
The administration also recommends combining Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the food safety functions of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into a single agency within the Agriculture Department. The agency would be called the Federal Food Safety Agency.
Bureau of Economic Opportunity
OMB recommends establishing a Bureau of Economic Growth, which would be a consolidation of economic development programs. This bureau would help centralize grant and technical assistance programs for communities and entrepreneurs, with the aim of empowering local governments, spurring job creation and increasing transparency in the local spending of federal dollars.