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  • Washington Highlights

    President Signs Executive Order to Reorganize the Executive Branch

    Heather Pierce, Senior Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel

    President Trump March 13 signed an executive order aimed at reorganizing the Executive Branch departments and agencies. The order directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney to develop a plan to reorganize government functions and eliminate federal agencies and programs.

    As stated in the order, the plan from OMB “shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions.” The plan should also recommend “legislation or administrative measures necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization.”

    In developing the proposed plan, the OMB Director will consult with the head of each agency and with non-affiliated federal government persons or entities with expertise in organizational structure and management. The order requires the head of each agency to submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize and “improve […] efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency.” In addition, opportunities to weigh in on the structure and organization of the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies will be announced by Federal Register notice through OMB. After the closing date for public comment, the Director has 180 days to submit a proposed plan to the President.

    This order comes during a significant effort by the administration to cut regulatory costs and the overall number of regulations. President Trump signed a Jan. 30 executive order on reducing regulations and controlling regulatory costs [see Washington Highlights, Feb.10]; and last month he signed an executive order requiring the head of each federal agency designate a “regulatory reform officer” and a taskforce to enforce implementation of the administration’s regulatory reform policies and initiatives [see Washington Highlights, March 3].