In an executive order signed Monday, President Trump demanded a thorough audit of federal agencies to make sure American taxpayers aren’t seeing their hard-earned money wasted by inefficiency inside the Executive Branch.
“This executive order is another major step toward making the federal government efficient, effective, and accountable to the people,” Trump said. “There is duplication and redundancy everywhere. Billions and billions of dollars are being wasted on activities that are not delivering results.”
Trump said the Office of Management and Budget will lead the review, whose aim is to make Cabinet-level agencies “as lean and as effective as possible” and to determine if all the Executive Branch services are “truly serving the American people.”
In conjunction with the executive order, Trump is expected to deliver a proposed budget this week that calls for deep cuts to the State Department, the EPA, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and HUD. These cuts will be accompanied by a drastic increase in national security spending, including more money for the military, the Department of Homeland Security, and the VA.
“This is the beginning of a long overdue reorganization of the federal government,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. “Sometimes you just walk into an agency and you realize that agency’s mission is no longer relevant or that it’s duplicative in three other agencies. Or that there are too many people performing a function that no longer exists for a variety of reasons.”
Trump is hardly the first president to order his Cabinet to identify areas of waste, but some government watchdogs are optimistic about his ability to find success where his predecessors have only found frustration. He will be aided by a conservative Congress eager to cut the deficit, and he has avoided the mistake of putting agency heads in charge of the audit. Furthermore, there’s no doubt that Trump – and chief strategist Stephen Bannon – are dead serious about making significant cuts to a sprawling federal bureaucracy.
Will the cuts made by Trump be as substantial as the administration hopes? Probably not. But even if the president can only get a fraction of the way towards a smaller, more efficient government, he will have done more for taxpayers than any Republican in quite some time.
There are benefits to putting a successful businessman in charge of the federal government. Finally, Washington will be held to account for its reckless spending. What a novel concept.