President Obama delivered remarks on modernizing the government for the 21st Century. Keeping a promise he made to come up with a smart reorganization of the government in his last State of the Union speech.
Obama’s Agency Reorganization Finds Skeptics in Congress.
The new proposal helps shield Obama from attacks of being a big government liberal and, if Republicans do not support him, opens up another avenue to paint them as unwilling to cooperate. "Fighting for the middle class is going to be a thematic that runs through all of this year, through State of the Union, through the budget, through everything we do," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said. "Given the President’s record of growing government, we’re interested to learn whether this proposal represents actual relief for American businesses or just the appearance of it," Boehner press secretary Brendan Buck said.
“Today, I am calling on Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had to streamline and reform the Executive Branch. Congress first granted this authority to presidents in the midst of the Great Depression, so that they could swiftly reorganize the Executive Branch to meet the changing needs of the American people. For the next 52 years, presidents were able to streamline or consolidate the Executive Branch by submitting a proposal to Congress that was guaranteed a simple up or down vote. But in 1984, while Ronald Reagan was President, Congress stopped granting that authority.”
“Today, I’m outlining changes we could make if Congress gives the green light to allow us to modernize and streamline. Right now, there are six departments and agencies focused primarily on business and trade in the federal government – from the Commerce Department to the Small Business Administration to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. Six. In this case, six isn’t better than one. It’s redundant and inefficient. With the authority I am requesting today, we could consolidate them all into one department with one website, one phone number and one mission – helping American businesses succeed.”
“With or without Congress, I’m going to keep at it. I’m hopeful it’s with Congress because this is an area where we can receive bipartisan support, because making our government more responsive, strategic and leaner should not be a partisan issue.”