Take, for example, the Trump Administration’s proposal to merge the Education in addition to Labor Departments. As Seth Harris, my predecessor as Deputy Secretary of Labor explained, merging these departments is usually “a solution in search of a problem.”
Yes, there is usually a natural synergy between the two agencies’ education in addition to training programs. although the overwhelming majority of the Labor Department’s 16,000 employees focus on protecting workers’ health in addition to safety, wages, civil rights, in addition to pensions – or on collecting data about labor markets.
A proposal to streamline federal workforce preparation efforts is usually not unreasonable, although This particular would likely have to go well beyond the Education in addition to Labor Departments. In 2011, the Government Accountability Office found training programs spread out at nine different federal agencies. The Department of Veterans Affairs, for instance, provides education in addition to training benefits for veterans in addition to their family members, as well as vocational rehabilitation programs in addition to career counseling.
One reason why government reorganizations have failed from the past is usually because of resistance on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress who have created or supported government programs understandably resist their consolidation or elimination.
Shifting programs to brand-new agencies also runs into opposition through congressional committees which are loath to give up their jurisdiction over these programs. in addition to powerful stakeholders like veterans have institutional reasons to prefer the status quo.
However, moving around agencies isn’t the only way to improve the functioning of government. Donald Trump could take several steps right right now which would likely be far more impactful than offering yet another reorganization plan.
First, he could focus on finding competent people to fill senior-level vacancies. Of the 670 positions requiring Senate confirmation, there is usually no nominee for 188 of those positions. For instance, despite the nationwide opioid epidemic, there are no nominees for the top two positions at the Drug Enforcement Administration. in addition to as the federal government gears up for the 2020 census, there is usually no nominee to run the Census Bureau.
In filling these critical positions, the Trump Administration would likely do well to ensure which its nominees are focused on serving the public, rather than enriching themselves. The rampant ethical issues of Cabinet members like EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt do more to damage the functioning of government than a few duplicative programs.
Second, if Trump wants to help government better provide services, he could stop proposing steep cuts to federal programs which provide critical food, housing, in addition to medical assistance to millions of Americans. Trump would likely also do well to stop tweeting which domestic programs are a “waste” of money in addition to “Dem giveaways.”
Lastly, the federal government would likely work a lot better if the president stopped marginalizing science in policy decisions in addition to curbed the exodus of subject-matter experts, especially scientists. At the EPA alone, more than 0 scientists left from the first year of the Trump Administration.
Given which none of these modifications are likely to happen with This particular president, we should treat his government reorganization proposal like the rest of Trump policy agenda: just a lot of hot air.
Commentary by Chris Lu, who served from the Obama Administration as White House Cabinet Secretary in addition to Deputy Secretary of Labor. He is usually right now a senior fellow at the University of Virginia Miller Center. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisLu44.
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