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Trump Signs Order to Trim Executive Branch

Two weeks after saying he wants to make federal agencies "do more with less," President Trump signed an order Monday calling for reorganization of the executive branch of the government, a move that could affect the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Under the order, the director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is called to "propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies and agency programs." The stated purpose of the order is to "improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the executive branch" of the federal government.

"Today there is duplication and redundancy everywhere," Trump said Monday after signing the order. "Billions and billions of dollars are being wasted on activities that are not delivering results for hardworking American taxpayers, and not even coming close.

"This order requires a thorough examination of every executive department and agency to see where money is being wasted, how services can be improved, and whether programs are truly serving American citizens."

The order calls for the head of each agency within the executive branch to submit a proposed plan for reorganization to the OMB director over the next 180 days, but includes the stipulation "if appropriate." The director will then be required to publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to suggest improvements.

After the 180-day period, the OMB director will submit a final proposed plan of reorganization to the president.

In a possible indication that the Trump administration plans to target EPA, the order says the OMB director should consider "whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are appropriate for the federal government or would be better left to state or local governments or to the private sector through free enterprise."

Also to be considered is "whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are redundant, including with those of another agency, component, or program."

Last month, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said that while Congress has granted some agencies within the executive branch broad powers, lawmakers have also been "very prescriptive" with others, and indicated that EPA is with the latter group.

The move to reorganize the federal government comes on the heels of a draft version of the federal budget that calls for a $54 billion increase in defense spending, with cuts to domestic programs, including EPA, to make up the shortfall.

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