Trump Government Reorganization Plan Proposes Merging Education and Labor Departments
Trump Government Reorganization Plan Proposes Merging Education and Labor Departments

June 2018

On June 21, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a proposal, Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, to reorganize the federal government, which would include merging the Education Department with the Labor Department.

The reorganization plan follows an executive order on reorganizing the executive branch issued by President Donald Trump in March 2017 and continues administration efforts to streamline and restructure the federal government. Congress would need to act on the majority of proposed changes, which it is unlikely to do. Budgets currently being discussed in the House and Senate for FY 2019 maintain current department structures.

The OMB plan calls for merging the functions of the Department of Education and Department of Labor into a Department of Education and Workforce. In the resulting department, four agencies would be created, including one for Research, Evaluation, and Administration. This agency would include the Institute of Education Sciences, a department-wide evaluation office, the Office of the Inspector General, and student aid administration.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), under the reorganization plan, would be shifted to the Department of Commerce to be placed with the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This move, according to the proposal, “would reduce public burden and end duplicative practices, while simultaneously enabling a more coherent approach to developing the nation’s principal statistics.”

The plan also recommends consolidating the administration of graduate fellowships across federal agencies into the National Science Foundation. According to the proposal, “NSF would leverage the efficiency of its existing graduate fellowship program to coordinate the fellowship application, selection, and award processes for other agencies, and be reimbursed by the other agencies for this work.”

The details for carrying out the consolidation are preliminary, as the plan calls for an inventory of existing graduate fellowship programs and for NSF to examine the types of fellowships for which the agency’s expertise could be applied.

The plan includes setting government-wide evaluation policies that build on several of the recommendations of the 2017 report of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking and do not appear to require congressional action.

According to the proposal, the OMB would direct agencies to appoint a senior official responsible for coordinating the agency’s evaluation and evidence-building activities. Another Commission recommendation in the administration’s proposal would instruct federal agencies to implement multi-year “learning agendas.”