Executive Order on Reorganizing the Administrative State

On March 13th, President Trump issued an Executive Order “On a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.”

Another step in President Trump’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state,” this order focuses on reducing the size of the executive branch by reorganizing – and eliminating – federal agencies. The stated purpose of the order is to “improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch” through a reorganization that would “eliminate unnecessary agencies…components of agencies, and agency programs.” Complemented by President Trump’s recently-released budget plan and January hiring freeze memorandum, the order challenges domestic programs and the federal workforce.

The cost- and function-cutting measures that President Trump seeks to impose will not, however, result in an immediate reorganization of the entire executive branch. The order directs each agency to devise a “proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate,” and to submit it to OMB within six months. Not every agency will find such reorganization “appropriate,” nor will lawmakers give President Trump unilateral authority to reinvent the federal administrative system. President Trump will need to work together with Congress in order to realize his goals.