President Obama will reveal a new proposal to consolidate federal agencies at a White House event later this morning, an official tells Fox News. The problem is that the authority he seeks to carry out the plan will have to come from a Congress he's had bitter battles with over the past year.
In his 2011 State of the Union address, the president complained of government overlap and red tape that clogs the federal government, promising to tackle the problem. He injected a bit of humor into his speech to illustrate the point, "The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater," he said to laughter. "I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."
By late that year, however, officials shied away from forecasting when the president would fulfill his promise.
Early Friday morning, the White House announced Mr. Obama will seek authority from Congress, not granted since the days of Ronald Reagan, to reorganize and consolidate portions of the federal government. His first proposal would be to reduce redundancy in the area of trade and commerce.
Should Congress grant the president this streamlining authority, each proposal he made would then receive an up-or-down vote from Congress within 90 days.
However, the president's track record with Congress isn't exactly favorable, following public disputes over issues like the nation's debt ceiling and extending payroll tax cuts. In an increasingly fierce election season, the president's move could be aimed at putting Congress on the defense.
The administration has for months highlighted a "We Can't Wait" campaign, intended to showcase issues that the White House says Congress isn't acting on. The president, therefore, has been unilaterally taking action; igniting controversy over whether he is overstepping his Constitutional authority.
Now, the president will lean on the very Congress that he's been lambasting for its inaction.
The administration admits one to two thousand jobs would be lost in the consolidation process, should it be approved, but officials say the plan would fall in line with the natural course of employee departure. The White House also says the plan could save the government $3 Billion over ten years.