Obama asks for authority to streamline government agencies
January 13th, 2012
09:11 AM ET

Obama asks for authority to streamline government agencies

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.

Topics: Congress • President Obama • The News

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. insight iowa

    Republican voting straight Democrat ticket in 2012.

    Thank you Mr. President for giving it your all and continuing to do so. I know you spoke of this in one of your speeches in 2008 – I agreed then and I agree now. Good Luck!

    January 13, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • John

      He said he would do this in his 2008 speech and he never attempted to do it. He has done the opposite hiring over 140,000 government employees since he said he was going the shrink governmnet. How could anyone still support this guy?
      When the next president takes over and ALL the key indicators are much worse then when BO took over are you libs going to say what a mess BO left?

      January 13, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • jean2009

        Wrong...This section is at the White House. gov site and has been ongoing. Selling off properties the government no longer needs is one very effective way to produce income and cut expenses for many things including maintenance. The page is from 2010. Selling things we don't need is a greater idea than cutting jobs in a down economy.
        There has also been a website up and running since 2009

        Also, here is a chart of over 500,000 government jobs that have been down-sized since President Obama's inauguration many through attrition.

        Oh and this final little link is my gift to you for remembering the past.

        January 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • John

        Jean – the Federal Governmnet employment # is up 140,000 since BO took office. This is a fact. What you are doing is the same thing that is done with the unemployment #'s. BTW, we lost how many jobs in this country since BO took over? But, they will tell you they added jobs...

        January 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  2. Jules

    I so love this! Now the GOP, who is constantly screaming for smaller government, will have to give the president what he is asking for or show once again all they want to do is stand in his way even if it means going againist everything they campaign for. My bet is that once again the GOP will show they are the party of hypocrits. The only hope will be that there are enough Repubs in congress that really would like to see this country take a positive step forward and not just stand in this president's way.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • John

      He hasn't done it – he won't do it and he will keep telling you people who follow him blindly things to make you feel good. I guess it doesn't matter to you he doesn't back up what he says – he actually does the opposite – at least in this case he is.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • jean2009

      I agree. What can you say? Even in the primary debates they have problems remembering the names of the departments of government they want to eliminate; but watch, whichever ones the president wants to downsize (or combine for efficiency) the GOP will be dead set against it. Remember the GOP has always said the military should say what they need and how, now that the military has said they need to be leaner...guess who is whining and verbally blocking that move.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:25 am |
      • John

        Both sides agreed on cuts that are not happening. All of these people need their term limited. The American people want cuts done, but don't announce you are cutting teachers, police and fire people while you leave thousands of support administrative people employed.
        Wisconson is a great example of the Dems not wanting cuts that were obviously wasteing money. Allowing people to simply opt out of their union dues and not being forced to accept the union run insurance has saved that state hundreds of millions without any of the cuts people (union people) were screaming about.

        January 13, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • steveo


        I gonna have to say I agree with your assessment here (it is after all Friday the 13th, right?). In all seriousness by asking for this, the President just placed the GOP/Tea Party on notice. Smaller government, more efficient government has been their calling card! I like to give credit where credit is due and I would say, on the surface, this is a brilliant move! The reason I say ON THE SURFACE is I would like to know the details!

        January 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
      • jean2009

        @John I am from Ohio and all I can say is Kasich. I certainly understand that Walker is cut from the same cloth both had no intention of doing anything other than attempt to break the back of unions. Neither of them were about cutting government costs, just about breaking unions and collective bargaining rights. And paying off their rich campaign donors.


        So don't give me your lame malarkey I'm not buying that whine.

        As for your prime example Scott Walker....read on.

        Isn't Walker being investigated by the FBI for corruption.


        It looks like he could do a Blagojevich.

        January 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  3. durundal

    lol lets watch all the silly people pretend to know what they are talking about: its called spot the buzz words:

    rules for the game
    1) count all the armchair experts who use words such as pork, obamacare, socialist, fascist, communist, or attempt to use faux line of thinking or think that the world is works in the same simple manner as their piggy bank.
    2) Bonus points if you call out the buffoon who go by a handle that has to do with some kind of: religious affirmation,blind patriotic name,silly monicker involving 'truth' or 'absolute'
    3) double secret bonus round if the person is a paul-bot


    January 13, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • John

      I read and watch everything – Media Matters, MSDNC, C-Span, CNN, various newspapers, etc. People who talk down Fox News are showing their ignorance. Here are a few of the names of people I have seen on Fox News – Barney Frank, Al Sharpton, Jesse jackson, BO, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, DW Schultz, Weiner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi – and hundreds of others.
      I am not sure what you libs watch, but it is helpful to get both sides of an issue. We know libs don't want to hear anything except what they agree with, but I find it helpful to get both sides.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:31 am |
      • Jules

        John, If you think Fox news is something great you do not watch or read all the information you say you do. The Fox News personalities and anchors are the weakest anywhere. They don't know what questions to ask or how to follow up. All they know is how to follow the GOP talking points. I watch once in awhile, but I do get my news from all over and I have to turn them off because they are just so weak as broadcasters and journalists.

        January 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • FLIndependent

        If you truly get both sides on Faux then why is it that Faux watchers all hate President Obama? I'm sorry, but no president has been perfect – all have made mistakes and this certainly won't change. Yes, we need to have outlets to hear both sides so we can decide for ourselves but it would be much better if we could rely on them telling us the truth and the full story. You can't deny that Faux is anti-Obama, can you?

        January 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
      • John

        Whay does everyone at MSDNC get a chill up their leg when they refer to BO?
        Maybe if you watch it just once so you are not speaking from ignorance you may get a clue. I listed people who are totally left that have appeared many times on Fox. You obviously couldn't list any totally right people who are on CNN, MSNBS and the like or you would have done it. People like me who do not like BO because of his policies. I thought he would be good for this country, but he is a disaster. Every key indicator i.e. unemployment, housing, GNP, GDP, etc. is worse than when he took office – and getting worse. His policies have made the problems worse and longer.
        Fox has some of the most respected people in the business, as well as several who have left Fox for better opportunities. You can't honestly tell me Sharpton, Schultz, Wolf, and those people are better – can you? I didn't mention any of the main stream people because those people are totally clueless.

        January 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  4. eddieb

    hmmmmmm good political move

    January 13, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  5. steveo

    This may work! I just wonder why the new Consumer Protection Agncy couldn't have been folded into an already existing agency as well. None the less,this could work!


    This is DC we are talking about! Everything is a poltical move!

    January 13, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • C-Lo

      Hey Steveo–it depends on how you define "political move." My take on this is "right move, but a day late and a dollar short." 100% agree with the CFPA sentiment.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:59 am |
      • steveo

        By political move, I am referring to the old phrase "timing is everything" All in all I agree, this really could work! if you really think about it, this move boots the ball into the courts of the GOP/Tea Party!

        January 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  6. JB

    President Obama is asking for the authority to do something? That has to be a first. He's taken great pride in skirting around the proper authority for years.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  7. Joey

    Congress should say OK, that's a good start and lets also do away with all the other govt programs that don't work.

    January 14, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  8. Xylke

    heh, Emperor Obama requesting more authority.. http://youtu.be/4_QJ-aViHuc

    January 15, 2012 at 12:47 pm |