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Trump weighs restructuring to streamline federal government

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, April 6, 2017. Photo Credit: AP

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Tuesday that it’s taking a crack at streamlining the massive federal bureaucracy as it follows up on the severe budget the White House proposed to eliminate scores of programs and independent agencies.

President Donald Trump plans to succeed in restructuring government where President Ronald Reagan with the Grace Commission and President Bill Clinton with “reinventing government” failed, said Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director.

Trump is asking the agencies “to start from scratch . . . with a blank piece of paper and say, ‘If you were going to rebuild the government of the United States, what would it look like?’” according to Mulvaney.

“This is trying to do something that has never been done before,” Mulvaney said. “The executive branch of government has never been rebuilt. It has grown organically over the course of the last 240 years.”

He said the idea is to make government more effective, but acknowledged it follows the proposed budget, which slashes funding for the environment, diplomacy, housing, health services and the arts by 20 percent to 30 percent while boosting military spending 10 percent.

Trump’s memo ends the hiring freeze that he put into effect on his first day in office, Mulvaney said. But any new hiring will follow Trump’s priorities, meaning the military and VA will add employees while the EPA and other agencies on the chopping block will pare employment.

And the actual reorganization won’t become clear until the 2019 budget proposal to be unveiled in 11 months, he said. Agencies will propose workforce reductions by the end of June and submit an agency “reform plan” in September.

Mulvaney said his office would solicit ideas from outside of government from citizens, scholars and anyone else with a good idea. But Mulvaney also acknowledged that one of the hurdles likely would be getting the cooperation of Congress.

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