Last Friday morning, President Obama heralded long-awaited plans for a government consolidation involving a half-dozen agencies with some connection to business and trade policy. Late that day, the Office of Management and Budget posted a memo instructing those same six agencies–and a few other bureaus to boot–to inventory all their programs with the ultimate goal of reducing duplication and overlap.
Coincidence? Not exactly, according to an OMB spokeswoman.
The newly ordered inventory is in fact a pilot project to figure out how to do the government-wide program count required by the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act signed last year, the spokeswoman, Moira Mack, said in an email. But administration officials chose the agencies that they did in part because information gleaned through the pilot “will be relevant” for planning purposes if Congress gives the green light to proceed with the consolidation.
In case anyone’s forgotten, the half-dozen agencies involved are the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corp., the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the business side of the Commerce Department, including the Census Bureau.
But OMB Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients said last week that the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics would also be part of the consolidation, and last week’s memo suggested that branches of other agencies are in the mix as well. Among them are the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Rural Business and Cooperative Service, the Treasury Department’s Community Financial Development Institutions Fund and the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.