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Smart politics or earnest change? President Obama requests authority from Congress to shrink the government.




U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about government reform in the East Room of the White House January 13, 2012 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about government reform in the East Room of the White House January 13, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

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President Obama may be attempting to beat Republicans to the chase when it comes to streamlining government. Earlier this morning the President requested the authority to consolidate redundant government agencies, starting with merging the Small Business Administration, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade and Development Agency. Karen G. Mills, administrator for the Small Business Administration, would be elevated to the cabinet.

Republicans say they will consider the President’s idea, but a few – like Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) – have gone on record questioning President Obama’s ability to back up this authority, should he receive it. President Obama will call for a vote on his request with the next 90 days.

WEIGH IN:

Is it a token gesture at the beginning of campaign season, or a real start to reducing an out-of-control budget? Do you think Congress should grant the President’s request?

Guests:

Arnold Steinberg, political strategist and analyst

Chris Lehane, Democratic political consultant and partner in the strategic communications firm, Fabiani & Lehane