OMB: Consolidation power 'crucial' to leaner government
Granting President Barack Obama the consolidation and reform authority is essential to the administration’s quest to transform the government into a trimmer, more effective entity, said Danny Werfel, controller in the Office of Management and Budget Office of Federal Financial Management.
In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on March 21, Werfel said the administration is seeking legislative authority to consolidate and reform federal agencies in an effort to revamp the government.
“The administration firmly believes that passage of the Reforming and Consolidating Government Act of 2012 is crucial to creating a leaner and more effective government,” Werfel said.
The act would not only reinstate an authority previous presidents have had to streamline and reform the Executive Branch but it provides a process Congress to hold an up-or-down vote to green-light reorganization plans.
Obama formally requested the authority in early January and announced plans to merge six business and trade agencies and other related programs into one if given the power to consolidate. That new entity would promote competitiveness, exports and U.S. business, and would save $3 billion over a decade by cutting waste, eliminating duplication, and decreasing the size of government, Werfel said.
“If Congress passes the president’s proposal to provide consolidation authority, we would cut billions of dollars in federal spending by integrating, streamlining and better managing agencies and programs across the government,” he said.
But Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), ranking member of the committee, cautioned against voting on the consolidation authority in absence of the actual proposal and said it would be “a mistake” to do so.
“While I understand that Congress is sometimes an obstacle to speedy reform, it is important that, in considering ways to expedite the process, we do not undermine Congress’ ability to carefully consider and amend legislation,” she said.
Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.