Trump tells OMB director to develop agency reorganization plan


March 14, 2017

President Trump has taken one more step in his apparent agenda to reduce the size of government and the number of regulations. On March 13, he issued an executive order implementing a plan to reorganize the structure and functioning of the executive branch with the aim of getting rid of unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs.

The executive order, "Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch," mandates that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director "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." To that end, within 180 days, the head of each federal agency is required to submit to the OMB director a proposed plan "to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency."

Public comment required. The director must seek public comment (through publication in the Federal Register) on suggested improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch and is required to consider those suggestions when formulating the proposed plan. Within 180 days after the public comment period closes, the director must submit to the president a proposed plan to reorganize the executive branch "in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of agencies."

Proposed reorganization plan. The EO directs that the proposed reorganization plan "include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions." It also must include "recommendations for any legislation or administrative measures necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization."

The director is required to take these and any other relevant factors into account in developing the proposed plan:

  • Whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are appropriate for the federal government or would be better left to state or local governments or to the private sector through free enterprise.
  • Whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are redundant, including with those of another agency, component, or program.
  • Whether certain administrative capabilities necessary for operating an agency, a component, or a program are redundant with those of another agency, component, or program.
  • Whether the costs of continuing to operate an agency, a component, or a program are justified by the public benefits it provides.
  • The costs of shutting down or merging agencies, components, or programs, including the costs of addressing the equities of affected agency staff.

The EO also requires the director to consult with each agency head and, consistent with applicable law, with persons or entities outside the federal government who have relevant expertise in organizational structure and management.

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