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Obama Faults Congress on Streamlining Government

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In comments that attracted little attention because they occurred just before Hurricane Sandy blew in (and also because they had to do with the ever-popular subject of managing government), President Obama late last week actually addressed the subject of the agency reorganization on the campaign trail. As ExcecutiveGov reports, Obama made the the case for a new Cabinet secretary to handle business functions in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that was taped last Saturday.

The president's remarks echoed his proposal, unveiled in January, to reorganize federal trade and business-related agencies in the Commerce Department and elsewhere, and elevate the Small Business Administration to Cabinet status. But in the recent interview, Obama went further, saying it's Congress' fault that the federal organization chart hasn't yet been redrawn in a way that would make for improved efficiency:

Here's what he said:

If we're going to streamline government, we should do it smartly. I've said that I want to consolidate a whole bunch of government agencies.

We should have one Secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like getting loans to [the Small Business Administration] or helping companies with exports. There should be a one-stop shop. Now the reason we haven't done that is not because of some big ideological difference, it has to do with Congress talking a good game about wanting to streamline government, but being very protective about not giving up their jurisdiction over those pieces of government.

Here's a clip of the president's remarks:

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Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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