Blueprint for Reorganization: Pathways to Reform and Cross-Cutting Issues

Report Budget and Spending

Blueprint for Reorganization: Pathways to Reform and Cross-Cutting Issues

June 30, 2017 2 min read Download Report
David Muhlhausen
Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis
David B. Muhlhausen is a veteran analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis.

Summary

“Blueprint for Reorganization: Pathways to Reform and Cross-Cutting Issues” is a follow-up report to “Blueprint for Reorganization: An Analysis of Departments and Agencies.” The initial report contains numerous bold and timely recommendations to downsize and reform the executive branch. However, the success of the President’s executive order faces considerable obstacles, which can be overcome with legislative changes that are explained in this follow-up report.

Key Takeaways

The systematic restructuring of the executive branch that President Trump has called for is a daunting task but meaningful reform is possible.

This report discusses the problems of a cluttered, overgrown federal government, the history of reorganization, and how a successful reorganization can take place.

This report t also contains innovative ideas to fundamentally reshape the executive branch in order to achieve a more efficient and streamlined federal government.

President Donald Trump has called for a systematic restructuring of the executive branch, led by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The President’s Executive Order No. 13781 is “intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch.”[REF] More important, the OMB is directed “to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies.”[REF]

The OMB was instructed to present President Trump with a comprehensive executive branch–wide reorganization plan. Paraphrasing the executive order, the OMB’s recommendations are to be guided by the following key considerations: 

  • Whether the functions of an agency are appropriate for the federal government or would be better left to state and local governments or to the private sector; 
  • Whether the functions of an agency are redundant with the functions of other agencies;
  • Whether administrative fuctions for operating an agency are redundant with those of other agencies;
  • Whether the costs of an agency are justified by the public benefits it provides; and
  • What it would cost to shut down or merge agencies.[REF]

This document, “Blueprint for Reorganization: Pathways to Reform and Cross-Cutting Issues,” is a follow-up report to “Blueprint for Reorganization: An Analysis of Departments and Agencies.”[REF] The initial report contains numerous bold and timely recommendations to downsize and reform the executive branch. However, the success of the President’s executive order faces considerable obstacles, which can be overcome with legislative changes that are explained in this follow-up report.

Chapters 1 to 4 of this report discuss the problems of a cluttered and overgrown federal government,the history of executive branch reorganizations, and the various pathways for how a successful reorganization can take place today. 

Chapters 5 to 12 detail cross-cutting issues that cut across a broad array of departments and agencies within the executive branch. Packed within these chapters are innovative ideas to fundamentally reshape the executive branch in order to achieve a more efficient and streamlined federal government. While the task at hand is daunting, achieving meaningful reform is possible—and critical for right-sizing the federal bureaucracy, as well as unleashing economic growth and prosperity for the American people.

 

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Authors

David Muhlhausen
David Muhlhausen

Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis