GOP bill consolidates departments of Labor, Commerce

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced a bill Tuesday that would combine the Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce into a single agency.

Burr said the consolidation would save taxpayer money and improve the quality of economic policies.

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“Duplicative programs cost the federal government staggering amounts of money every year," Burr said. “Combining offices with similar functions within these two agencies is a common-sense approach that reduces wasteful spending and would streamline our approach to comprehensive economic policy.”

His bill, S. 1836, would create a new agency called the Department of Commerce and the Workforce.

The bill would also implement the Bowles-Simpson Commission's recommendation to place the Small Business Administration with the Department of Commerce in the new consolidated agency and would transfer the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from Commerce to the Department of the Interior.

Burr said President Obama has talked about consolidating federal agencies, so he should support the legislation.

“The president has proposed merging and consolidating federal agencies several times over his two terms, and this bill advances that proposal,” Burr said.

The bill would save money by combining the support and administrative offices of the two agencies and through eliminating duplicative programs.

Sens. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) are co-sponsors of Burr’s bill.

“By consolidating agencies, we can eliminate duplicative and wasteful spending and take a step toward fiscal responsibility," Coats said.