My friend Chris Edwards writes at the Cato Institute’s web site that OMB Director Mick Mulvaney has released a 14-page memo creating a process by which the executive branch can produce a detailed plan to cut the size of government. The memo is more of a plan-for-a-plan, but will ultimately produce a final plan a year from now in the fiscal year 2019 budget. Chris writes:
The core of the process is that the president is requiring federal agencies to prepare Agency Reform Plans by this September, with draft plans due June 30. Agencies must come up with downsizing “proposals in four categories: eliminate activities, restructure or merge, improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness, and workforce management.” Agencies “should focus on fundamental scoping questions (i.e. analyzing whether activities should or should not be performed by the agency).”
Some of the factors that agencies should consider when doing their “fundamental scoping” are whether activities are nonessential, whether they violate federalism, and whether they would flunk a cost-benefit test. Agencies should propose eliminating activities that do not pass muster on these and other criteria.
Director Mulvaney is trying to get federal bureaucracies to reconsider all of their activities in a bottom-up manner. The downsizing process he has launched will include actions that the president and agencies can take administratively, and reforms that will need legislation passed by Congress.