In the video below Obama is asking Congress to “reinstate” the authority other Presidents before him have had, but he didn’t say how he lost the same power or who took it from him. He is asking for authority to close the Department of Commerce, and create a new export agency including Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). He promises to use the power to only make government leaner. It will save taxpayers $3 Billion dollars over ten years, he says, creating a cabinet position for the Small Business Association. Remember the tale of the Department of Homeland Security, creating it, gobbling-up smaller and already huge agencies across the country, leaving us with a government behemoth? Maybe that’s not a good comparison, but when has Barack Obama ever been truthful about smaller government? Do fewer agency names mean a step toward a more limited government?
White House budget official Jeffrey Zients told reporters the reorganization would fold together the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other trade bodies now spread across Washington, giving businesses a single point of contact and ensuring federal spending goes further to boost exports. Source Chicago Tribune
The Hill characterizes this move by Obama as “putting his own small-government plan forward:”
One of Obama’s proposals would be to merge six major operations that focus on business and trade: Commerce Department’s core business and trade functions, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investments and the Trade and Development Agency. Obama is looking to have all of those operations merge into one agency.
As an example of how “merging” works, after September 11, 2001 we merged law enforcement, border security/immigrations and many other agencies into the Department of Homeland Security, which didn’t exist before the terrorist attacks. Today taxpayers are funding the $3.4 BILLION building and renovation of a 176-acre site ‘across the river’ in Washington, D.C. Nationwide, DHS has 240,000 federal employees AND 200,000 CONTRACTORS. It’s not clear how many of the federal employees will move into the gargantuan D.C. complex when completed after many starts, pauses and all-out-stops, in 2012. The federal budget included $42.7 BILLION for DHS operations in 2009. The actual expenditure was $85 BILLION. The 2012 budget is $98 BILLION, with the additional $3.4 BILLION construction costs climbing.
“It will help us hold meetings,” Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “It will help us build that culture of ‘One DHS.'”
The Federal Budget took a direct blow in the amount of $85 BILLION in expenditures for DHS in 2009; budgeted was a mere $42.7 BILLION.
John Boehner says perhaps Obama’s new agency might be for “appearance[s],” but he welcomes more information and the opportunity of “eliminating duplicative programs and making the federal government more simple, streamlined and business-friendly…”
At a press conference on Friday where Obama formally announced his plan, he said part of it would mean elevating the Small Business Administration to a Cabinet-level department. Another part of his proposal would combine the central business and trade operations in the Commerce Department, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Small Business and the Trade and Development Agency into one agency. Source The Hill
Another thought: Is it possible any proposed change to the Department of Commerce can render a change in favor of ObamaCare? With the elimination of the Department of Commerce, surely new language will be needed for how commerce is conducted across state lines. Isn’t it sad to be so pessimistic and so distrusting of our own government.
Obama Asking Congress for Additional Power (video)