Trump Executive Order Requires ‘Thorough’ Review of Federal Agencies

The president complained that "there's duplication and redundancy everywhere" in departments at the federal level.

  • Published 13 March 2017

On 13 March 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring agencies within the executive branch of the federal government to submit plans for their reorganization:

Section 1.  Purpose. This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs.

Sec. 2.  Proposed Plan to Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability of Federal Agencies, Including, as Appropriate, to Eliminate or Reorganize Unnecessary or Redundant Federal Agencies.  (a)  Within 180 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency. 

Trump said at a ceremony accompanying the signing that the order was designed to identify where money was being wasted at the federal level through a “thorough examination.” He also said:

We have assembled one of the greatest Cabinets in history and I believe that so strongly. And we want to empower them to make their agencies as lean as effective as possible, and they know how to do it. Today there’s duplication and redundancy everywhere. Billions and billions of dollars are being wasted on activities that are not delivering results for hardworking American taxplayers. And not even coming close.

According to the order, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will oversee the process. Each agency has six months to submit a proposed plan to “reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency” to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney would then publish a notice in the Federal Register “inviting the public to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch.”

Six months after the closing date for that posting, the order said, Mulvaney would be required to submit a proposed reorganization plan to Trump.

The proposed plan shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions. The proposed plan shall include recommendations for any legislation or administrative measures necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization.

The National Register currently lists 440 agencies. Under the terms of the order, Mulvaney must evaluate whether any given agency’s function would be better left “to State or local governments or to the private sector through free enterprise.”

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