Obama Seeks Power To 'Streamline' Government

President Obama asked Congress on Friday to give him the power to consolidate certain U.S. agencies. Doing that, he says, will reduce the number of federal jobs and make government more efficient. No president has had this kind of authority since Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with efforts to streamline the federal government.

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GREENE: President Obama is asking Congress today to give him the power to consolidate certain U.S. agencies. Doing that, he says, will reduce the number of federal jobs and make government more efficient.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The government we have is not the government that we need. We live in a 21st century economy, but we've still got a government organized for the 20th century.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The president's plan initially involves merging several trade- and commerce-related agencies, including the Department of Commerce - cutting, the president says, about a thousand jobs and saving, he says, $3 billion over the next decade. He says he could do this if Congress approves, perhaps setting up another challenge to Congress. Senate Republicans have initially indicated they might be open to his idea

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