As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama’s Decent Offer to the GOP

President Obama’s offer to Republicans last Friday to make it easier to consolidate and remap federal agencies is a good one and should be taken up by Congress.

The plan would call for allowing Congress to vote up or down on new consolidation proposals, avoiding all the legislative tricks and procedures that stall legislation. In this case, it’s necessary to overcome opposition from powerful lawmakers who won’t want to downgrade agencies over which they have purview.

Departing White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley showed up for the announcement. Looks like he's had it.
Photo by Keith Koffler

On their own, agencies tend to grow exponentially and demand resources for things other agencies are already doing – because they think they should do it too. Combining agencies will help eliminate these little fiefdoms and curb the expansion of government.

Obama wants to start by extracting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from the Department of Commerce, putting it in the Department of the Interior, and then combining Commerce with some other business-related agencies, including the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Some people are groaning that USTR and our trade agenda will be undermined. But the Trade Rep will retain Cabinet level status and continue to report to the president as well as the head of the new agency. That is, the trade agenda will remain as important as the president wants. Obama has already full demonstrated that you can have no trade agenda even with a USTR that reports solely to the president.

Of course, this proposal is an attempt to say something is true that actually is not true: that Obama wants to shrink the government. Federal spending is now 25 percent of GDP, higher than it’s been since World War II.

Obama is baiting Republicans by daring them to oppose something they would naturally embrace. He’ll then use the rejection to portray them as Do-Nothing jerks unwilling to work with him. Or he’ll take some credit for actually achieving something, however, small.

The president is playing a political game this year that will result in little getting done for the American people. Republicans should not play along, and move on this proposal.

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16 Responses to Obama’s Decent Offer to the GOP

  1. You can “consolidate” in your own interests, though–or in his. You are taking away Congressional counterbalance in supporting this…or maybe I am just so deadset against anything these people do…

  2. You know what they say, if it sounds too good to be true……..?

    I just don’t trust this administration. We need to do away with some porked up departments like Education, Energy and Homeland Security THEN consolidate what’s left. Put FEMA back as a cabinet post so the head can report directly to the Pres and not through some clueless middleman.

      • I read where FEMA is financing snow cone ice machines for ice packs in case of an emergency. Police depts have spent their money–mosty given just to be “equal” with places facing any kind of threat–for the dumbest useless things possible, just to spend it. I know these are small things–but hey, I could find a place to spend it…

        • A town near me was devasted by a tornado last year, and FEMA disapproved helping them :( Probably because the voting district went to McCain /sarc.

  3. This is a very clever, insidious move by the Prez and Congress should call him out for it. Duplicate agency agendas don’t have to consolidated, they need to be eliminated and personnel deployed elsewhere or furloughed.

    We don’t combine X-DOT with Motor Vehicle agencies, or the Dept of Unemployment with the welfare agency in the states even though the basic interests and policies might be for the same basic needs.

    Congress should avoid even discussing such a drastic manuever and wait until after the election to see how things shake out. There might be a new idea in DC.

  4. Everything this guy does is for political traction and not for the benefit of the country. Even if this plan is a great idea and deserves implementation, coming from Obama in an election year makes it dubious at best. The last three years have shown that he and most of his party will not reach across the aisle, why believe he will now?

    • Cooper, you are exactly right about the DemWits being the “party of Obstructionists”! The House has passed 27 Bills that have proposed solutions to the stagnant economy and even to limit the “power grab” of the BHO WH. The DemWits-controlled Senate has refused to allow ANY of the Bills to be considered!

      The “Do-Nothings” are the DemWits in Congress! jb

  5. O asked for “the added authority to his presidential powers” to consolidate these departments. O has already shown a willingness to override, overlook, ignore, and/ or blatantly go our Constitution and our Congresses. The idea of giving him even more power is one that should keep Americans awake every night. Personally, I believe the presidential authorities and powers need to be reigned back in.

  6. I hope that the Republicans do go forward with this, especially since they espouse small government so much. Although if Obama is advocating something like this, it really worries me that there is far more to the story that we’re being led to believe.

    Call me cynical, but this President has given us a myriad of reasons to distrust his “word.”