Trump’s Plan for “Reorganizing the Executive Branch”
March 24, 2017
On March 13, Donald Trump signed an executive order titled “Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.” “Reorganizing the Executive Branch” is quite a strongly worded statement, and the ramifications of this order could toe a fine line between what is or is not within the powers of the Presidency.
This order is not extensive, only about a page and a half long, yet it grants a huge amount of responsibility to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney. The order sets up a plan in order to “reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies,” with the goal to minimize the costs of the federal government. Though, it is not extremely clear what parameters Mulvaney is being given to decide which departments or agencies are necessary and which are not. While the Order cites section 551(1) of title 5 of United States Code, there is no clear reference to what qualifies a department as necessary or otherwise. These decisions regarding the necessity of various federal departments and agencies have to be within a final plan 180 days from when the order was given, where Mulvaney will give the proposed plan back to the Oval Office. Within the plan will be recommendations not only on which departments or agencies should be eliminated or sent back down to a state level, but they will also include the proposed legislation to put this plan into action. The order also states that Mulvaney will “publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch”, but Mulvaney faces no repercussions if he does not account strongly for public opinion, especially since he is a cabinet appointee, not an elected officia. So voters really have no say on which departments will stay within the federal government besides adding suggestions to the Federal Register. So who is Mick Mulvaney, and what does he believe should happen with these integral part of how the federal government functions?
Mulvaney is a hardline conservative who believes the government should be spending as little money as possible. He has been described as a “budget hawk,” and has also become known as a member of the “Shutdown Congress,” where he stated that he would rather shut down the federal government than raise the federal debt limit during the Obama administration. Mulvaney in his new position of Director recently claimed on CNN that the Obama administration had “manipulated” statistics on unemployment, despite the fact that there is no evidence for this. According to NPR editor Domenico Montanaro, Mulvaney also stated that the program Meals on Wheels is one of those programs “not showing any results.” Mulvaney has proven that his actions and public beliefs will align with the Trump White House, despite the fact that this decision may not always make fiscal sense.
As Mulvaney helped craft the new White House Budget proposal, several distinct budgetary decisions were made that were less so to lessen the spending of the federal government, but rather to make a statement that aligns itself with the message of the Trump administration. In this proposed budget bill, the EPA would suffer a cut of 31% of it’s budget, despite the fact that the EPA only takes up a mere .2% of total federal spending. Similarly, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which provides programs like NPR and PBS would not recieve any federal spending under this new bill, while only making up .02% of total federal spending.
If these cuts are any indication of what Mulvaney will new with his newfound authority with this new executive order, the federal government as we know it could be completely redefined under this administration.