White House releases extensive plan to reorganize HHS: 9 things to know

The White House has released its 132-page plan to restructure several federal agencies and impose work requirements on government assistance programs.

The plan is the result of a March 2017 executive order that asked the Office of Management and Budget to explore ways of making the government "lean, accountable and more efficient," according to NPR. Officials said it includes 34 examples of consolidation, according to CNN.

Here are nine things to know about the Office of Management and Budget plan released June 21:

1. Officials proposed moving noncommodity nutrition assistance programs — including the SNAP food stamps program — from the Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service to HHS, which it would rename the Department of Health and Public Welfare.  

2. A Council on Public Assistance would oversee those programs, and the council would be able to impose uniform work requirements for program participants, which Democrats strongly oppose, according to The Hill.

"Democrats and Republicans in Congress have rejected President [Donald] Trump's proposals to drastically gut investments in education, healthcare and workers — and he should expect the same result for this latest attempt to make government work worse for the people it serves," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said.

3. Under the proposal, three HHS research divisions — the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research — would be rolled under the National Institutes of Health, according to the American Hospital Association.

4. The plan also aims to merge the Department of Agriculture's food safety regulators with those in the FDA and proposes renaming the regulatory body the Federal Drug Administration to focus on drugs, devices, biologics and tobacco. A new agency within the USDA, the Federal Food Safety Agency, would take over over the review of food safety.

5. The plan also seeks to combine the Departments of Education and Labor, on the premise that education and job training should go together. The two entities weren't separate until President Jimmy Carter broke up the Department of Health, Education and Welfare into the Education and Health departments in 1979, according to CNN.

6. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos praised the restructuring plan, calling it a "big step" in fulfilling President Trump's promise to "reduce the federal footprint in education and to make the federal government more efficient and effective."

"This proposal will make the federal government more responsive to the full range of needs faced by American students, workers, and schools," Ms. DeVos said in a statement, according to CNN. "I urge Congress to work with the administration to make this proposal a reality."

7. To address the federal cybersecurity workforce shortage, the plan proposes "establishing a unified cyber workforce capability across the civilian enterprise, working through [the Department of Homeland Security] and OMB in coordination with all Federal departments and agencies," MIT Technology Review reports.

8. The plan also seeks to privatize the U.S. Postal Service so that it can run in a more sustainable manner.

9. Many of the proposed changes would require congressional approval, and MIT Technology Review noted lawmakers are likely to challenge many of the plan's proposals.

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