U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) has introduced a bill that would consolidate the Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce into a single, new agency called the Department of Commerce and the Workforce (DOCW). The goal of the bill would be to provide cost savings by combining duplicative functions and improve the quality of our country’s economic policies by ensuring a consistent, coordinated approach.
“The amount of money wasted annually on duplicative programs within the federal government is staggering,” Senator Burr said. “In his State of the Union address this year, the president proposed merging and consolidating federal agencies, and this bill advances that proposal. This common-sense approach reduces duplication by combining offices with similar functions within these two agencies and would streamline our approach to comprehensive economic policy.”
By increasing the coordination of federal offices, the new merged DOCW will be better positioned to promote economic growth and workforce protections. The Department would preserve the independent functions of both agencies and would not make changes to specific policy. In addition to combining Commerce and Labor programs and offices with substantially similar missions, the bill would combine the support and administrative offices of the two agencies and would take the recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to eliminate ineffective or duplicative programs.
The bill will also implement President Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s recommendation to place the Small Business Administration (SBA) within the Department of Commerce and will transfer the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from Commerce to the Department of the Interior.
Current co-sponsors of the legislation are Senators Inhofe (R-OK), Wicker (R-MS), Thune (R-SD), Lee (R-UT), McCain (R-AZ), and Coats (R-IN).
Do you think the proposal is a good one? If you work for either the Department of Labor or Commerce, what are your thoughts on how this might affect your job or the agencies? Share your thoughts in the comments.