Boehner's office: Is Obama's agency merger just for show?

In response to President Obama's announcement that he would consolidate a number of trade and commerce agencies in the federal government, House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office is asking whether the move is just for show.

"Given the President’s record of growing government, we’re interested to learn whether this proposal represents actual relief for American businesses or just the appearance of it," Boehner press secretary Brendan Buck said in a statement on Friday. "American small businesses are more concerned about this administration’s policies than from which building in Washington they originate.  

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"We hope the President isn't simply proposing new packaging for the same burdensome approach," Buck continued. "However, eliminating duplicative programs and making the federal government more simple, streamlined, and business-friendly is always an idea worth exploring. We look forward to hearing more about his proposal."

Earlier on Friday Obama announced that he would be making the government "leaner, smarter and more consumer-friendly" by asking Congress for power to combine six trade and commerce agencies. The mergers are intended to save money and streamline some redundancies in the federal government. 

At a press conference on Friday where Obama formally announced his plan, he said part of it would mean elevating the Small Business Administration to a Cabinet-level department. Another part of his proposal would combine the central business and trade operations in the Commerce Department, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Small Business and the Trade and Development Agency into one agency. 

Other Republicans on Friday responded positively to Obama's announcement. 

"I welcome the President’s proposal for putting small businesses first and working to fix some of the layers of red tape and bureaucratic obstacles that face job creators today and I look forward to reading more of the details on this proposal," Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) said in a statement.

Dold is facing a tough reelection campaign in an district that decisively went for Obama in 2008.

—This story was updated at 1:08 p.m.