White House releases sweeping proposal to reorganize government

The White House on Thursday unveiled a sweeping plan to reorganize how the federal government is structured, including controversial proposals to impose work requirements on assistance programs.

“Businesses change all the time,” said White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWhite House rejects Dem request for documents on Trump-Putin communications Consumer bureau chief reverses efforts to sideline advisory panels Mulvaney poised to become permanent White House chief of staff: report MORE. “Government doesn't, and one of the things you get when you hire a businessman to become president is you bring this attitude from the private sector.”

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The plan touches a wide range of agencies, but one of its main proposals is to move the food stamp program, officially known as SNAP, out of the Department of Agriculture and into the Department of Health and Human Services. That department would then be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare.

A new Council on Public Assistance would then oversee programs gathered in one place, including food stamps and Medicaid, and have the power to impose uniform work requirements in those programs, a move strongly opposed by Democrats.

The reorganization plan faces tough odds in Congress, where even aside from the dispute over work requirements, any reorganization faces opposition from congressional committees that could lose power if their jurisdictions change.

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Senators seek CBO input on preventing surprise medical bills | Oversight panel seeks OxyContin documents | Pharmacy middlemen to testify on prices | Watchdog warns air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk' Senators ask CBO to review options for preventing surprise medical bills White House proposes limits on student loan borrowing as part of higher education reforms MORE (Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, dismissed the plan as dead on arrival even before it was official unveiled, calling it a move to propose “futile reorganizations of the federal government just to have a new talking point.”

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress have rejected President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE’s proposals to drastically gut investments in education, health care, and workers — and he should expect the same result for this latest attempt to make government work worse for the people it serves,” she added.

The proposal would also merge the Departments of Education and Labor, with the idea that education and job training should go together.

Another proposal that is sure to be controversial is to privatize the United States Postal Service.

Another would merge the Department of Agriculture’s food safety regulators with those in the Food and Drug Administration. Officials said that would reform the current system, where a cheese pizza is regulated by the FDA for safety, while a pepperoni pizza is regulated by the Department of Agriculture.

OMB Deputy Director Margaret Weichert told reporters that some of the proposals could be implemented by the administration without Congress. For example, an idea to elevate the Office of Personnel Management could be done without congressional action, she said. 

On the more sweeping ideas that require Congress, she said officials would be working with Congress and others through the summer. 

This story was updated at 2:16 p.m.