The President's Reorganization Authority

Gao ID: 121174 April 12, 1983

GAO discussed Presidential reorganization authority and H.R. 1314, a bill to renew that authority which expired in April 1981. GAO stated that it has identified what seemed to be a fundamental problem in the reorganization process: although substantial time and resources are always devoted to deciding what is to be reorganized, little attention is given to planning the mechanics of implementing a reorganization. The lack of early planning results in substantial startup problems distracting agency officials from their new missions during the critical first year of operations. Without implementation data, Congress is not aware of the full impact of reorganization requirements. GAO recommended that legislation granting reorganization authority to the President require that reorganization plans contain a section on the proposed implementation of actions to be taken. H.R. 1314 would renew and extend the President's reorganization authority until December 1984. It would require more information to accompany reorganization plans and would increase the time for congressional consideration. The bill would also prohibit the use of the reorganization authority to create new independent Federal agencies and would modify congressional procedures for approving reorganization plans. GAO concluded that H.R. 1314 is an improvement over the approval process of the previous law. Further, by requiring positive approval of a reorganization plan, the proposed approval mechanism is easily defensible on constitutional grounds. At the same time, retention of the features in the 1977 act controlling amendments and providing for automatic discharge from committee assure the President that his plan will indeed be voted on in Congress.

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