Obama seeks approval to combine federal agencies, angers Republicans

President Barack Obama will ask Congress for greater powers on Friday to shrink the federal government and consolidate several trade and commerce related agencies, which would save the government $3 billion over 10 years, but eliminate at least 1,000 jobs, the Washington Post reported.

Obama is set to announce this proposal on Friday morning to combine agencies with overlapping programs. He will ask Congress for a reorganizational power, which was last held by President Ronald Reagan, the Associated Press reported. The deal entitles him to an up-or-down vote from Congress in 90 days.

The move angered Republicans who said they weren't consulted and left out of the dark with Obama's plan, according to USA Today

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"After three years in the White House presiding over the largest expansion of government in generations, the timing of this announcement and the failure to consult Congress raise questions about the president's commitment to a real reorganization and reduction in the size of the federal government," said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

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The companies that the president wants to consolidate include the Office of the US Trade Representative, the US Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corp, the Trade and Development Agency, the Small Business Administration and parts of the Commerce Department.

Combining these agencies have been under discussion for years, Reuters reported. Obama asked White House budget officials to examine whether merging these groups would save money for the government last March.

Not only does the move attempt to save the country money, it comes at a “politically opportune moment,” the Washington Post reported. As the president heads into his reelection campaign, he can use this effort to squash Republican criticism that his policies have stunted business growth. Congressional Republicans have already scoffed at the proposal, saying many cutbacks are needed to lower the deficit.

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“After presiding over one of the largest expansions of government in history, and a year after raising the issue in his last State of the Union, it’s interesting to see the President finally acknowledge that Washington is out of control,” said Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), the Washington Post reported.

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