Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today joined Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) in introducing a bill that would consolidate the Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce into a single, new agency called the Department of Commerce and the Workforce (DOCW). The legislation would provide cost savings by combining duplicative functions and improve the quality of our country's economic policies by ensuring a consistent, coordinated approach.
"In Indiana, Hoosiers have worked hard to save taxpayer dollars by streamlining government to make it leaner and more effective," said Sen. Coats. "This bill is one way to apply the Indiana model in Washington. By consolidating agencies, we can eliminate duplicative and wasteful spending and take a step toward fiscal responsibility."
"Duplicative programs cost the federal government staggering amounts of money every year," said Burr. "The president has proposed merging and consolidating federal agencies several times over his two terms, and this bill advances that proposal. Combining offices with similar functions within these two agencies is a common-sense approach that reduces wasteful spending and would streamline our approach to comprehensive economic policy."
"Congress should take every opportunity to consolidate and restrict the power of big government and return control to the individual states," said Inhofe. "Commerce and Labor began as one agency but has overgrown into two duplicative Departments. I am honored to sponsor this legislation with Sen. Burr that will save the taxpayers money, tame our growing government, and increase the efficiency of its' essential services."
By increasing the coordination of federal offices, the newly merged DOCW will be better positioned to promote economic growth and workforce protections. The Department would preserve the independent functions of both agencies and would not make changes to specific policy. In addition to combining Commerce and Labor programs and offices with substantially similar missions, the bill would combine the support and administrative offices of the two agencies and would eliminate wasteful and duplicative programs, according to recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The bill will also implement the Bowles-Simpson Commission's recommendation to place the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the Department of Commerce in the new consolidated agency and will transfer the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from Commerce to the Department of the Interior.