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PSCA Executive Reports

June 28, 2018

Government Restructuring

On June 21, the Trump Administration released a far-reaching proposal that would dramatically reorganize the federal government. The overhaul would represent the largest change to the federal government structure since the Great Depression. In addition to ideas such as privatizing the postal service and air traffic control and limiting the scope of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the proposal would consolidate DOL and the Department of Education. The new Department of Education and the Workforce would “allow the Federal Government to address the educational and skill needs of American students and workers in a coordinated way, eliminating duplication of effort between the two agencies and maximizing the effectiveness of skill-building efforts,” according to the plan. The agency would have four main subdivisions: K-12 education, workforce and higher education, enforcement of labor and civil rights laws, and research. It is unclear at this point whether the merger would have much, if any, real impact on the Employee Benefit Security Administration.

It is very unlikely that the proposed reorganization will actually occur in the near future. Most, but not all, of the proposed changes would require Congressional approval, and there does not yet appear to be support from key members of Congress. Republican lawmakers were, at best, lukewarm to the idea. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, did not immediately criticize the proposal. However, her statement did not endorse the changes and merely said, “We look forward to working with the administration on the proposal.” Similarly, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (“HELP”) Committee said, “I think it's always wise to look for greater efficiency in how our government operates and I will study the proposal carefully.” Democrats were less guarded, with HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) calling it, “unrealistic, unhelpful and futile.”

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