By Caitlin Emma and Michael Stratford
The Trump administration plans to advocate a merger of the Education and Labor departments as part of a sweeping government overhaul, according to two individuals familiar with the proposal who declined to be named because it’s not yet public.
The new combined agency, if approved by Congress, would be part of a broader government reorganization plan that could be announced as soon as Thursday, POLITICO reported. Mick Mulvaney, director of the OMB, has been working on the reorganization plan since his confirmation more than a year ago.
The Education Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The plan, if undertaken by the administration, would pose a heavy political and legislative lift. Past attempts to eliminate the Education Department haven’t proven popular in Congress.
Until a reorganization of agencies in the 1970s, federal social programs were managed by the now-defunct Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
A potential combination of the two departments was first reported by Education Week.
The Education Department is in the middle of its own restructuring, including a massive shakeup of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.
As part of its overall agency reform plan submitted to OMB last fall, the Education Department had proposed taking over a slew of programs that are currently managed by the Labor Department. It did not propose a merger with Labor.
That proposal from September, which was obtained by POLITICO, called for moving the Labor Department offices overseeing employment for people with disabilities, dislocated worker programs and youth workforce training funding to the Education Department.
For example, the plan calls for redirecting funding for the Labor Department’s adult and dislocated worker programs into expanding Pell grants, run by the Education Department, for short-term training programs.
It also proposed sending H-1B visa fees that are currently used by the Labor Department for short-term job training programs to the Education Department to make competitive grants to “education and business partnerships” to boost high school science, technology engineering and math education.
Moving any of those programs, according to the Education Department’s plan, would require congressional action.