January 13th, 2012
09:11 AM ET
In an election year where voters are focused on a sputtering economy and making cuts within their own budgets, President Barack Obama will ask Congress to give him the power to make government "leaner, smarter and more consumer-friendly," according to a White House official.
The president will speak at the White House Friday morning to announce he is asking Congress to give him "consolidation authority" –power for him to propose mergers of agencies which have duplicative services or duties, a White House official confirms to CNN.
If that authority is granted it would also require Congress to give an up or down vote on the president's streamlining proposals with in 90 days of being submitted.
The official says the move will keep a promise the president made at last year's State of the Union address to streamline government.
The first agency targeted for consolidation would be within the Commerce Department. The proposal would eventually cut one to two thousand jobs but not through firing but through attrition–by not replacing employees who leave their positions. The administration says this could save $3 billion over ten years.
The president needs Congressional approval to exercise such power and essentially puts the ball in Congress' court. For the past several months, the president has used his executive power to put into place various initiatives which the administration says had been delayed because of partisan gridlock in Congress.