Yesterday the president signed another executive order – this one about “Reorganizing the Executive Branch”. Just reading the order itself, without paying attention to context and influences on the president, one could easily conclude it is a good, prudent effort to streamline government operations. I will freely admit there is likely plenty of waste and redundancy in the executive branch that could be cleaned up, but I cannot ignore the context here.
A fairly brief order, it directs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to gather ideas (for 180 days) and propose a reorganization plan (by another 180 days) to give to the president. It allows for the potential of drafting appropriate new legislation to accomplish the tasks proposed.
The order appears to me to be a very thinly disguised directive to propose an ambitious plan to effectively dismantle much of the Executive Branch of the federal government. I come to that conclusion not only from the language in the order itself, but also knowing the chief advisors – Bannon and Miller in particular – have the goal of destroying the federal government. Additional evidence for my conclusion can be found in the appointments to various cabinet positions. Many of them have publicly called for elimination or radically reducing the effectiveness of the very departments they are now charged with leading. I won’t go into detail here on these appointments, but this order clearly gives them the room to do just what they want.
Quoting from the order:
(e) In developing the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section, the Director shall consult with the head of each agency and, consistent with applicable law, with persons or entities outside the Federal Government with relevant expertise in organizational structure and management.
Sounds reasonable. But no mention of convening meetings that include more than one agency head (when one of the stated goals is to consolidate “duplicate” activities in different agencies) is a major red flag. And, again one has to read between the lines, but consulting with people outside the government with “expertise in organizational structure and management” very probably means POTUS 45’s hand picked cronies. I would not be surprised if ALEC* has a big hand in this as well.
If the Director of the OMB delivers the plan on the timeline stated, in about a year we will know how much of the executive branch of the federal government is intended to be left standing.
* American Legislative Exchange Council here exposed for what they are.
Official title of the order: Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch
Executive order posted March 13, 2017.