Bureaucracy bonanza? Warren’s plans would create plethora of new federal offices

Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that. And often, she's got a new federal agency for that, too.

A Fox News analysis of the Democratic presidential candidate's myriad and much-touted plans reveals that Warren's ambitious agenda of policy prescriptions would not only prompt sweeping change in everything from health care to clean energy, but would come with the creation of at least 20 offices, bureaus, agencies, divisions or councils.

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Some of these are entirely new; some would replace existing agencies, only on a bigger scale; and some would represent a relaunch of old agencies disbanded years ago. Taken together, what is proposed is a significant expansion in the size of the federal bureaucracy.

If elected president, Warren vows she'll oversee the establishment of new offices that would be responsible for educating members of Congress on technology, investigating ethics violations, ensuring the U.S. is trading with green countries and much, much more.

For instance, a new Secure Democracy Administration would have the power to take over the administration of federal elections from state governments that run afoul of certain standards. A White House Budgetary Office of Tribal Affairs would "track and advance" Native American-related spending.

From Warren's perspective, it's just more evidence of the detail-rich policy pitch that has defined her candidacy. But Republicans see more evidence of an over-reliance on big government -- and a political liability.

"No surprise that Elizabeth Warren wants to expand unnecessary government bureaucracy on top of her radical socialist proposals," Sarah Matthews, the deputy press secretary for President Trump's re-election campaign, told Fox News. "Despite what Elizabeth Warren may think, more big government isn’t the solution. President Trump believes our government should be smaller, smarter, and more efficient which is why he has delivered on his campaign promise to shrink the federal bureaucracy and get the government off the backs of the American people."

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., listens to a question during the question and answer part of her campaign event Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/ Cheryl Senter)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., listens to a question during the question and answer part of her campaign event Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/ Cheryl Senter)

Most of the new offices are explicitly outlined in Warren's campaign literature. But the total could be higher. At least one office -- the Office of United States Corporations -- is prescribed in a Warren bill linked to one of her campaign proposals, though the office is not mentioned on the campaign site.

The entity, under Warren's legislation, would issue charters to large American companies permitting them to operate. Hinting at this, Warren's "Accountable Capitalism" plan calls for issuing charters to American companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Warren's fondness for government agencies is hardly a secret. Her affiliation with one is part of her personal narrative. She mentions repeatedly on her site that she was one of then-President Obama's top advisers while his administration was creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"Even though she wasn’t even in Congress at the time, she fought for the agency, built public support for it, and Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010," Warren's campaign website states. "She then helped build the agency up from scratch. Now that agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has returned $12 billion directly to consumers scammed by financial institutions."

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The Warren campaign did not respond to a request for comment for this report.

Below is the full list of entities Warren says she would create: 

  1. A Tenant Protection Bureau modeled after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which would “enforce tenants’ rights, take on bad actors, and make sure landlords keep affordable housing affordable for working families.” 
  2. Borrowing from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Warren would “recruit 10,000 young people and veterans to jumpstart a 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps,” to care for natural resources and public lands, adding on a fourth division to the three that currently exist under AmeriCorps.
  3. A “Green Marshall Plan” that “includes a new federal office dedicated to selling American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology abroad and a $100 billion commitment to assisting countries to purchase and deploy this technology."
  4. A “Green Apollo Program” that includes the creation of a National Institutes of Clean Energy in the model of the National Institutes of Health.
  5. A “labor and environmental enforcement division under the United States Trade Representative,” which would be tasked with ensuring countries the U.S. trades with engage in sustainable environmental practices. 
  6. A Secure Democracy Administration to replace the Election Assistance Commission, though it would be vastly more powerful. It would provide “technical assistance and training” to states implementing Warren's election security measures and have the power to take over election administration in states the federal government deems not in compliance with its standards.
  7. Warren would bring back the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, which was disbanded in 1995, to reduce the legislature’s reliance on tech companies and think tanks to explain how new advances in technology work and what they mean.
  8. An office in the VA dedicated to representing family members who care for veterans and ensuring they know about government resources that are available to them.
  9. A newly created Department of Economic Development which would replace the Commerce Department and subsume the Small Business Administration and the Patent and Trademark Office. It would run a Small Business Equality Fund dedicated to boosting “black, Latinx, and Native American” small business owners; produce National Jobs Strategies every four years; and oversee trade authorities like the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. 
  10. An Office of Broadband Access within the new Department of Economic Development to “manage a new $85 billion federal grant” on broadband access, particularly to rural areas.
  11. A “new labor enforcement division at the USTR to more effectively enforce obligations, and embed a labor attaché at U.S. embassies to monitor compliance with our labor standards."
  12.  A "Permanent, Cabinet-Level White House Council on Native American Affairs” like the council that was established under Obama but has "gone dead" under Trump because it was not permanent. 
  13. A "New White House Budgetary Office of Tribal Affairs” within the OMB with potentially “a director’s office level Tribal officer,” to "track and advance government-wide progress" in dealings with Native Americans. 
  14. A “national Office of the Public Advocate,” which would be responsible for engaging citizens as federal agencies make “important legal changes” during the “rulemaking process.”
  15. A "new U.S. Office of Public Integrity” to investigate and punish ethics violators.
  16. An Office of United States Corporations, which would require large corporations to obtain a charter from the U.S. government obligating them to “consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders – including employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities in which the company operates.”
  17. Warren plans to “reopen and expand the DOJ’s Office for Access to Justice,” a body that sought to ensure state and local defendants had access to lawyers.
  18. An "independent prosecutorial integrity unit to hold accountable prosecutors who abuse their power.” Warren also says she would change the rules concerning plea bargaining and discovery by the DOJ. 
  19. Warren would restore the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, which Trump eliminated as a standalone agency and now falls under the Agriculture Marketing Service.
  20. An Office of New Americans that would support, “new immigrants as they transition into our society and economy, and task that office to draft a national strategy for integration.”

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But Warren's plans don't just create offices. She further advocates for a litany of commissions, programs and positions that also would expand the scope of other parts of the federal bureaucracy.

She proposes a commission on disability rights that would ensure federal disaster spending is ADA compliant, a "diplomatic equivalent of the ROTC program" and a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, to name a few.

All these government entities would need to be funded, which would mean additional spending on top of other costly benefit programs ranging from "Medicare-for-all" to student debt cancellation.

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Warren has called for "big structural change," as a cornerstone of her campaign as she competes with Bernie Sanders -- a self-identified Democratic socialist -- for more progressive and liberal voters in the Democratic primary. Some Democrats, however, have worried that her expansive vision will turn away moderates and independents.

Fellow 2020 hopeful Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., hit Warren on one of her more controversial policies -- a 2 percent wealth tax on individuals worth more than $50 million -- during the Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta last week.

"The tax the way we're putting it forward right now, the wealth tax, I'm sorry it's cumbersome, it's been tried by other nations, it's hard to evaluate. We can get the same amount of revenue through just taxation," Booker said in a heated exchange with Warren. "But again, we as Democrats, have got to start talking not just about how you tax from a stage, but how we grow wealth in this country amongst those disadvantaged communities that are not seeing it."

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Warren's website says she would use the wealth tax to help fund many of her proposals. However, conservatives decry Warren's embrace of more government agencies and programs as a move in the wrong direction.

"It would take an army of bureaucrats and vastly more spending to realize Senator Warren’s command and control aspirations," said Romina Boccia, director of the conservative Heritage Foundation's Grover M.Hermann Center for the Federal Budget.

She also warned that the "swamp" President Trump vowed to drain still bubbles with bureaucracy: "President Trump’s administration continues to have success in draining the swamp through deregulation. And yet, we’ve also seen vast, irresponsible spending increases that feed the swamp. Returning power to the people must include starving the bureaucratic beast, which means holding the line on spending."