After claiming that the executive branch now has the power to determine whether Congress is in session or not, the President now wants power to “consolidate” “overlapping” programs without Congressional approval…
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama will ask Congress on Friday for greater power to shrink the federal government, and his first idea is merging six sprawling trade and commerce agencies whose overlapping programs can be baffling to businesses, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.
Obama will call on Congress to give him a type of reorganizational power last held by a president when Ronald Reagan was in office. The Obama version would be a so-called consolidation authority allowing him to propose mergers that promise to save money and help consumers. The deal would entitle him to an up-or-down vote from Congress in 90 days.
It would be up to lawmakers, therefore, to first grant Obama this fast-track authority and then decide whether to approve any of his specific ideas.
The White House said Obama would address his proposals for government reform Friday morning. The official confirmed the details to the AP on condition of anonymity ahead of the president’s event.
In an election year and a political atmosphere of tighter spending, Obama’s motivation is about improving a giant bureaucracy – but that’s hardly all of it.
To voters sick of dysfunction, Obama wants to show some action on making Washington work better. Politically, his plan would allow him to do so by putting the onus on Congress and in particular his Republican critics in the House and Senate, to show why they would be against the pursuit of a leaner government.
Obama also has an imperative to deliver. He made a promise to come up with a smart reorganization of the government in his last State of the Union speech. That was nearly a year ago.
At the time, Obama grabbed attention by pointing out the absurdity of government inefficiency. In what he called his favorite example, Obama said: “The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”
I’m all for cutting spending and consolidation but wouldn’t the better question be, “why do we have overlapping programs in the first place”?
Seems better to stop them than to deal with them after the fact.