The White House, under the administration of President Donald Trump, proposed Thursday a sweeping government reorganization and reform plan that includes renaming and restructuring the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including movnig many major public-assistance programs under HHS oversight.
In a press release about the plan, Trump Administration officials say the reorganization and reform plan will make the Executive Branch more efficient and effective.
The reorganization plan, spearheaded by the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, proposes drastic changes to agency structures and responsibilities with the aim of making the government leaner. The plan, called “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” proposes moving all major public-assistance programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, and the WIC program into the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
SNAP, a $70 billion program, is now overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The proposal establishes a Council of Public Assistance, comprised of all federal agencies that administer public benefits, with statutory authority to set cross-program policies including uniform work requirements.
The plan also calls for renaming HHS to the Department of Health and Public Welfare. According to OMB's reorganization plan, the rebranding would "more accurately reflect the mission of the agency and raise the profile of non-health related programs.”
According to reporting from the Washington Post, many of the plan’s key recommendations, such as merging the Education and Labor departments and shifting food programs for low-income Americans to HHS, would require approval from Congress.
The proposal also outlines changes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The FDA would be renamed the Federal Drug Administration and would focus on drugs, devices, biologics, tobacco, dietary supplements and cosmetics. The food safety responsibilities currently overseen by FDA would be consolidated with the food safety functions of the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) into a single agency within USDA, called the Federal Food Safety Agency.
The proposal would also consolidate health research programs currently within HHS—the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research—under the umbrella of the NIH.
According to reporting from the Federal Times, Mulvaney said in a news release on the plan, “This effort, along with the recent executive orders on federal unions, are the biggest pieces so far of our plan to drain the swamp. The federal government is bloated, opaque, bureaucratic, and inefficient. President Trump understands the frustration felt by hard-working Americans. I am eager to work with my colleagues across the executive branch and in Congress to deliver a more trusted and efficient government that puts the American taxpayer first.”
The reorganization plan stems from a March 2017 executive order that called for a reshaping of the executive branch. The news release said that the reorganization aims to eliminate problems that many American citizens and companies face in having to deal with multiple agencies to resolve one concern or meet one requirement.