Tired of U.S. health officials studying deadly and infectious diseases? Sick of the Department of Agriculture assuring your food isn’t rancid? Fed up with National Weather Service forecasts and NASA satellites? Wish the Environmental Protection Agency would stop trying to clean our air and water?
Now’s your chance to say so.
The White House is asking citizens to weigh in as the Trump administration works to slim down the executive branch. From now until June 12, anyone can submit suggestions for reforming or eliminating any department or agency of the federal government. (Sorry, you cannot propose any new federal agencies.)
“President Trump calls it ‘draining the swamp.’ What it really means is making the government more accountable to you, more effective, and more efficient,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), said in a video announcement on April 11.
Mulvaney stood before piles of Federal Register documents that he said were lists of regulations from the last two years alone. “I don’t like that, you don’t like that, and President Trump doesn’t like that, and he’s asked me to try and fix it,” he said.
Last month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that requires the OMB director to devise a plan to reorganize the executive branch and “eliminate unnecessary agencies.”
Given the White House’s proposals to drastically shrink the EPA, reducing its budget by more than 30 percent, and cut funding for climate programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the Energy Department, the new website is likely to rattle climate scientists even more.
Using the website, you can upload a document containing your proposal. This may seem like a nod to transparent policymaking, but it also opens the door for lobbyists and think tanks to send the White House their proposals for realigning the government in potentially fundamental ways, no matter how big a stake they have in the outcome.
For example, lobbyists for Wall Street could propose getting rid of or streamlining the Securities and Exchange Commission, plus parts or all of the Treasury Department that they don’t like. The form allows multiple federal agencies to be selected for downsizing or elimination.
Along similar lines, lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry could propose gutting climate science research even further, or call for dismantling agencies that exist to oversee oil and gas drilling and formulate climate change policies. Such ideas could find a receptive ear in this White House.
Under Trump’s executive order, the heads of each federal agency are also required to submit their own proposals to Mulvaney for how they could “improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability” of their respective agencies.
Sometime this week, Mulvaney’s OMB is expected to send a “guidance” letter ordering government agencies to make themselves significantly smaller through deep budget cuts and widespread layoffs, reported. The 14-page memo reportedly outlines cuts based on Trump’s budget proposal, which seeks to shrink domestic programs while boosting military spending by 10 percent.