Trump Team Moves Closer to Gutting Some Federal Agencies

President Donald Trump’s federal hiring freeze ends on Wednesday in order to move into the next phase of a proposed reorganization of agencies headquartered in Washington and their satellite operations throughout the country.

Starting now, some federal agencies are likely to go on a hiring spree, like the Pentagon, while others will be forced to slash their workforces, like the Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Tuesday afternoon the freeze is being lifted in favor of a more strategic, surgical approach that will enable the White House to oversee a streamlining of the functions of government.

The process, though, is far from over.

Under a series of executive actions Trump has signed, agencies must develop plans by the end of June to maximize employee performance. By the end of the following quarter, agencies have to submit plans describing how they intend to reform their operations.

And at a higher level, Mulvaney’s office will map out how to restructure the executive branch so that it’s directed by its functions. As an example, he cited 43 workforce training programs across 13 agencies that could be centralized. He added that multiple offices across multiple agencies handle trade, and pressed that it should be more centralized, as well.

The broader suggestion to structure around functions and issues came from a meeting of CEOs at the White House on Tuesday morning; Mulvaney said the administration is seeking input from business leaders, academics, and civilians alike.

He also said the White House isn’t viewing the goal through traditional, conservative Republican lenses geared toward shuttering entire Cabinet agencies and warned that likely won’t be an outcome.

Calling it the “biggest story that nobody’s talking about,” Mulvaney boasted that the Trump administration is on a mission to do something that’s never been done before.

Not quite.

Every administration since Ronald Reagan’s has done a thorough review of the executive branch to probe for redundancies to cut. Mulvaney maintains that this time, under Trump, it will be different simply because it’s important to the president.

Of course, any substantial reductions will have to be approved by Congress. Those changes would fall into the 2019 budget.

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