The Trump administration will propose merging the Labor Department with the Education Department as part of a larger effort to reorganize the federal government, The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday.
The formal announcement is planned for Thursday morning, but the Journal reports that any planned reorganization must be approved by Congress.
The reported proposal is a revival of long-held conservative ambitions dating back at least two decades. In the 1990s, Republican lawmakers proposed merging the Education and Labor departments with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The new agency would have been dubbed the Department of Education and Employment, but such plans never got off the ground.
According to the Journal, the Education Department is one of the smallest agencies of the federal government, with approximately 3,900 employees. The paper reports that its workforce has shrunk by 10 percent as the result of a hiring freeze instituted by President Trump soon after he took office.
The department was one of three government agencies Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry promised to eliminate during the 2012 campaign. The proposal was overshadowed when Perry, now the secretary of energy, forgot the name of one of the agencies during a televised debate.
The Labor Department has a reported 15,000 employees and has a variety of responsibilities, including compiling employment statistics and enforcing federal wage laws.