The White House will suggest combining the Departments of Education (DOE) and Labor (DOL) into a single federal agency on Thursday.
An unnamed administration official shared this part of a larger plan first put forth by Office of Management and Budget head Mick Mulvaney to decrease, increase and restructure federal agencies, according to an interview with The Washington Post.
Merging the DOE and DOL would advance the Trump administration’s goal of providing students with vocational training. Congress would need to approve the proposal.
Former President Jimmy Carter established the DOE in 1980. Republicans, including President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, have since expressed interest in downsizing or outright eliminating the department altogether. (RELATED: Trump’s Secretary Of Education Would Love To Do Away With The Whole Department)
The DOE, which is responsible for federal civil rights laws at schools, federal student loans and K-12 funding, would be the simplest to liquidate in terms of size — it houses fewer than 4,000 employees and controls a $68-billion budget. Conversely, the DOL, which manages worker training and minimum wage laws, boasts around 15,000 employees, but only has a $13-billion budget.
Mulvaney’s directive would also streamline financial safety-net initiatives, which are currently the combined effort of numerous agencies. It would also likely diminish the Office of Personnel Management’s role in conducting employee background checks, benefits and retirement claims.
Former President Barack Obama promised to merge trade agencies during his tenure, but did not live up to the pledge.
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