Among the federal agencies that would be consolidated under President Barack Obama’s proposed government reorganization plan is the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, a White House official told Main Justice.
The bureau, known as BIS, regulates the export of so-called “dual use” items – sensitive goods and technology that could have a military use.
Along with the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, which would not be part of the reorganization, BIS regulates these exports to protect national security and foreign policy goals.
Obama’s new plan, if approved by Congress, would replace the Department of Commerce with a new department that would include the consolidation of the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
“It has been a generation since a president had the authority to propose streamlining the government in a way that allowed for real change to take place,” Obama said in announcing the plan Friday, citing power he said was given to all presidents but Gerald Ford by Congress from 1932 to 1984.
BIS would find a home in the new department, which would oversee issues related to small businesses, trade and competitiveness, technology and innovation and statistics.
Obama told a crowd of small business owners that the government is overly complicated for entrepreneurs and businesses. The idea of the plan, he said, is to give citizens one streamlined destination in the bureaucracy when dealing with business issues.
Obama announced the plan in the White House while elevating the administrator Small Business Administration, Karen Mills, to his cabinet.
The idea of government downsizing has been a key fixture of the Republican presidential primary campaign and has been a contentious issue on Capitol Hill as conservative lawmakers have argued that the Obama administration has failed to rein in government spending.
Over 10 years, the consolidation is expected to save $3 billion, the White House said, and trim as many as 2,000 federal jobs through attrition.
Obama is asking Congress for the authority to propose agency mergers to be approved or rejected with an up-or-down vote.
The creation of the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush in 2002 was the last major reorganization of the federal government.
Information requests to the BIS and Department of Commerce were directed to the White House.