Sneak Preview: Federal Reorganization Proposal Would Realign Grant Programs

July 6, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

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xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) The Trump Administration has submitted a proposal to Congress to reorganize the federal government, a move that could dramatically impact the current operations of numerous federal financial assistance programs.

The reform plan recently issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), called “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” is the result of an effort mandated under Executive Order 13781, which directed OMB to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions if redundancy is present, and eliminate unnecessary agencies and programs. In April 2017, OMB instructed all agencies to submit plans to reorganize the executive branch consistent with the executive order. According to the reform plan, “agencies have interconnected imperatives around mission delivery, customer service and stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Better organizational alignment should enhance the executive branch’s ability to increase efficiency via shared services, public-private partnerships, workforce redeployments and better customer experiences.”

Under a category in the reform plan called “mission alignment imperatives,” OMB recommended the following:

  • Merge the departments of Education and Labor into a single agency called the Department of Education and the Workforce. Within this agency would be a new American Workforce and Higher Education Administration that would maintain a federally administered Apprenticeship and Impact Fund, which would consolidate a range of disparate grant programs into a single fund designed to test effective apprenticeship, workforce development and postsecondary education models. This administration also would consolidate four major formula streams that currently serve adult populations in a duplicative manner: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult, WIOA Dislocated Worker, Employment Service and Jobs for Veterans State Grant programs.
  • Move the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service’s noncommodity nutrition assistance programs into the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and then rename the agency the Department of Health and Public Welfare. This agency would also create a permanent Council on Public Assistance that would seek to “provide a unified, coordinated focus on cross-cutting welfare and workforce issues at the state and local levels,” and encourage reforms to federal programs.
  • Transition the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works out of the Department of Defense to the Department of Transportation and Department of the Interior.
  • Reorganize the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the food safety functions of HHS’s Food and Drug Administration into a single agency within USDA.
  • Move USDA’s rural housing loan guarantee and rental assistance programs to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Among several other recommendations under mission alignment were two involving the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The administration’s plan, aiming to optimize USAID and Department of State humanitarian assistance, would require these agencies to submit a reorganization proposal as part of their federal fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget requests to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal humanitarian assistance and to encourage outreach to other donors. In addition, the reform plan aimed to reorganize USAID “to better advance partner countries’ self-reliance, support U.S. national security and ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of foreign assistance.”

Under another category termed “management improvement and efficiency opportunities,” the reform plan recommended establishing an accelerated process for determining whether one or more of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s centers should be converted to, or host, a Federally Funded Research and Development Center that could recruit and retain scientific and technical expertise. It also suggested the consolidation of: (1) the administration of graduate fellowships for multiple federal agencies under the National Science Foundation in order to reduce the cost of administering these fellowships; (2) financial education and literacy programs now operating across more than 20 federal agencies to better allocate financial literacy resources and limit overlap and duplication; and (3) the small grants functions, expertise and grantmaking from the Inter-American Foundation and U.S. African Development Foundation into USAID beginning in FY 2019.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site.)

As a reminder, we have all of our Federal Funding Training Forums scheduled for 2018. Please let me know if you have questions or can make any of these. We hope to see you there!

  • Wednesday July 25 – Friday July 27 in MINNEAPOLIS

  • Wednesday October 17 – Friday October 19 in ATLANTA


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