Amidst all of the hubbub over the shutdown, here’s some news you may have missed: legislation was recently introduced in the House to abolish several large federal agencies.
The bill, known as the Sunset Inefficient and Unaccountable Government Act (H.R. 7334), would abolish the agencies “unless a Federal law disapproving of the abolishment of the agency is enacted…” It was introduced by Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL).
The agencies targeted for elimination are:
- The Department of Agriculture
- The Department of Commerce
- The Department of Education
- The Department of Energy
- The Department of Health and Human Services
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development
- The Department of Labor
- The Department of the Interior
- Any office of the Department of the Treasury
- The Department of Veterans Affairs
- The Department of Transportation
Agencies that would be explicitly spared in the bill are the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Treasury.
The time frames of when the agencies would be abolished range from two years to eleven years from the date of enacting the bill into law.
As to how an agency would be closed, the language of the bill states, “When an agency is abolished under this Act, the head of such agency may take such actions as are necessary to dispose of the assets, obligations, and liabilities of the agency during the one-year period that begins on the date of such abolishment.”
Before anybody working at these agencies panics, keep in mind that the odds of this bill becoming law are almost zero. There are only a few days left in the current Congress, plus lawmakers are more focused on the ongoing partial government shutdown, so it is doubtful a bill like this one will get much attention.
Other bills like this have been introduced in Congress from time to time to eliminate various federal agencies (see some of the articles listed below) but have ultimately not gone anywhere.