Obama wants export agency, closing of Commerce Dept

By REUTERS
January 13, 2012 18:38




WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama will ask Congress on Friday for authority to close the Commerce Department and create a new export agency, an overhaul that could save $3 billion and help inoculate him against Republican election-year charges that he is a big-government liberal.

White House budget official Jeffrey Zients told reporters the reorganization would fold together the Office of the US Trade Representative and other trade bodies now spread across Washington, giving businesses a single point of contact and ensuring federal spending goes further to boost exports.

Obama was set to deliver remarks at 11:20 a.m. (1620 GMT) on the new, yet-to-be-named department that would be tasked with achieving his goal of doubling exports in five years, a key part of his economic agenda as the November presidential vote nears.

The Democrat was expected to cast it as an effort to make the government leaner and more efficient, reducing bureaucracy for export-oriented companies.


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