Politics

Trump Signs Executive Order To Slash Government

| by Ray Brown

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to shrink the size of government by cutting and possibly eliminating federal agencies.

The executive order, signed on March 13, calls upon the director of the Office of Management and Budget "to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies," according to the White House.

The order also requires that the head of each agency submit a proposed plan to the director of the Office of Management and Budget to "improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency" within 180 days.

According to The Washington Post, Trump aides say the new executive order is part of the president's budget philosophy, which prioritizes private companies and states over federal regulations enforced by federal agencies, with an exception for the military and Homeland Security.

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But the executive order is expected to lead to layoffs for many federal workers, which could cause ramifications for how government service is conducted.

"These are not the kind of cuts that you can accommodate by tightening the belt one notch, by shaving a little bit off of a program, or by downsizing a few staff here or there," said Robert Reischauer, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, according to The Washington Post. "These are cuts that would require a wholesale triage of a vast array of federal activities."

Matthew Slaughter, a former member of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush and now a dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College said the Trump cuts could be seen as investments in the future.

"Imagine his plan got enacted," Slaughter said. "It wouldn’t trigger some crisis, but what’s subtle is relative to what America could be in the next several years in terms of making more substantial investments in infrastructure, science research and public investments that we have historically made."

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But Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, and former running mate for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, said Trump's budget proposal won't find any love from Democrats.

"The notion of bulking up defense but slashing everything else, that’s not going to find any votes on the Democratic side," Kaine said.

Although Democrats might fight Trump's budget cuts, they should come as no surprise. On the campaign trail, Trump often railed against federal bureaucracy, a common theme for Republican candidates.

And soon after taking office, Trump followed through on his promise to limit the size of government, by implementing a hiring freeze for all federal workers except for the military and national defense.

"This memorandum counters the dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years," Spicer said in January, reported CNN. "In particular, it prevents filling vacant positions and creating new positions except when necessary to meet national or public security responsibilities."

He added: "It does not apply to military personnel, and it ensures that the American taxpayers get effective and efficient government."

Sources: White House, The Washington Post, CNN / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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