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02-09-2012 - Proposed Trade Agency Consolidation

On January 13, 2012, President Obama announced he was seeking Congressional passage of a proposed Consolidation Authority Act, that would give him authority to reorganize and consolidate specific parts of the government.  The goal is to make the government leaner, smarter and more consumer-friendly. With the exception of President Ford, every President from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan had reorganization authority.  Presidents had this sort of authority for almost the entire period from 1932 through 1984.  Unlike the authority granted in the past, President Obama’s proposal would initiate new accountability by mandating that any plan must consolidate government - reducing the number of agencies or saving taxpayer dollars. 

The President will also lay out his first proposed use of that authority: consolidating six agencies into one department to promote competitiveness, exports and American business.  The proposed consolidation would include:

  • Commerce Department’s core business and trade functions
  • Small Business Administration,
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
  • Export-Import Bank
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  • U.S. Trade and Development Agency

While praising the concept in general, there was immediate push-back from certain members of Congress regarding the fate of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the lack of Congressional consultation, and the timing of the announcement.

If you would like more information, please contact your GSB representative or email,