Creating Peace and Cybersecurity departments are among the proposals.
In previous presidential elections, Republicans have made proposals to terminate federal agencies. But in the 2020 cycle, several Democrats are hoping to increase the size of the government if elected.
Democratic candidate and author Marianne Williamson released a plan on Monday to create a Department of Peace that would coordinate and facilitate peace efforts at home and abroad. “Our country’s way of dealing with security issues is increasingly obsolete,” Williamson stated. “We have the finest military force in the world, however, we can no longer rely on force alone.”
The Peace Department would address white supremacy, gun violence, non-military peacemaking, humanitarian efforts, drug use, bullying and more. The department would also establish a Peace Academy, modeled after the military service academies.
Funding would come from consolidating the existing programs aimed at promoting peace and reducing violence, and the department could eventually save the federal government money, Williamson said. The United States “spend[s] more on our military than the next nine largest militaries in the world,”the plan stated. However, “at best our military can solve part of the issue, leaving the true, underlying problems unaddressed.”
The Secretary of Peace would serve on the National Security Council and work with other agencies, including the Department of Children and Youth, another agency Williamson plans to create if she is elected. This department would “focus on connecting the dots on all programs, grants and direct appropriations that involve children.” It would take a holistic approach to the welfare of children by taking on environmental, health care, education, crime prevention, homelessness and social work initiatives.
Williamson is not the only Democratic candidate with a proposal to create a new federal agency. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney has said he would establish a Department of Cybersecurity to address vulnerabilities in the country’s information systems, recent data breaches and Russian election interference. “Currently our cybersecurity efforts are spread across multiple agencies, but by creating a new department we can centralize our mission, focus our goals and efforts, and create accountability,” Delaney said. He compared this situation to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when President George W. Bush created the Homeland Security Department.
Other Democratic contenders have plans to add to the federal government too. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants to create a Climate Conservation Corps. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., would establish a Foreign Interference Threat Center. Mayor Pete Buttigieg would create a clemency commission outside of the Justice Department. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., proposed an Office of LGBT Antidiscrimination within the White House Domestic Policy Council. And billionaire Tom Steyer hopes to establish an independent redistricting commission.
In contrast, decreasing bureaucracy has been a cornerstone of President Trump’s campaigns and presidency. Shortly after taking office in 2017 he unveiled a budget blueprint that would have abolished 19 agencies.
In past elections many Republicans have proposed to drastically reduce or terminate agencies. In the last cycle Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., had big plans to cut many departments. There was also the infamous debate moment when former Texas Gov. Rick Perry forgot the third agency he wanted to eliminate. This was the Energy Department, where he is now secretary.