Obama Seeks To Merge Six Agencies

President Obama is asking Congress for more power to shrink the federal government.

The commander in chief proposed merging six trade and commerce agencies on Friday, a move analysts are interpreting as an attempt to quiet Republican critics who say Obama wants to balloon the government.

Obama suggested combining the following agencies: the Commerce Department's core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and the Trade and Development Agency.

Obama still needs Congress' okay before he can make restructuring changes.

"Why now?" Republican strategist Ford O'Connell asked. "President Obama is looking at the polls. He's not doing well in Florida, and independents are souring on him. This is one way to lower government spending to make government more efficient."

The President may also be feeling pressure to downsize before November's election. During his last State of the Union speech, he suggested that government needed to become more efficient.

The deal is far from assured. There's no sign that he'll get cooperation from the Republican-led House, following a year-long pattern.

Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University said Obama's move was a step in the right direction.

"By reducing the size of government the president is taking small step to cut spending and reduce our debt problem," said de Rugy.

But O'Connell said Obama was merely trying to "shift the blame to Congress" heading into the election season. "He can say, 'Hey, I tried to do my job. I'm being blocked.'"

Read more from Aliyah Shahid at New York Daily News



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published this page in In The News 2012-01-13 17:17:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy