Three Federal Agencies on the Chopping Block with Lawmakers

Feb 21, 2017

departmentIt has been no secret that President Donald Trump wants to abolish some federal agencies or departments. Now, the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Election Assistance Commission have bills in Congress with the goal of a shutdown. The bill to eliminate the Department of Education has six co-sponsors, while the bill for the EPA has three.

departmentDepartment of Education

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced the bill to close the Department of Education by December 31, 2018. “Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC should not oversee our children’s’ intellectual and moral development. States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students. Schools should be accountable. Parents have the right to choose the most appropriate educational opportunity for their children, including homeschool, public school, or private school.”

The Education Department began in 1980 as a cabinet-level agency. They employ about 4,200 employees and have a discretionary budget of $68.1 billion and a mandatory budget of $140 billion. They have the third highest grant portfolio among the 26 federal grant-making organizations, handing out more than $1.1 trillion—mainly from student loans.

departmentEnvironmental Protection Agency

The EPA would also end by December 31, 2018, with this new legislation.

Congressman matt Gaetz introduced the bill and said, “The American people are drowning in rules and regulations promulgated by unelected bureaucrats, and the Environmental Protection Agency has become an extraordinary offender. Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans. I would take the resources that we use to fund the bureaucracy at the EPA, and I would downstream those resources to states and local communities so that we can have people closest to environmental assets ascertain the importance of those assets, and then protect them appropriately and responsibly.”

The EPA protects human health by conducting research and creating cleaner air and water. The department began 46 years ago with a budget of $1 billion and 4,000 employees. Their goal was to make the air clean again. Now, not only do they oversee that, but also everything from mercury spills in high school labs to nuclear waste. In 2016 they employed over 15,000 people and had a budget over $8 trillion.

departmentElection Assistance Commission

The EAC is a bi-partisan organization established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). Lawmakers approved two bills on February 7, 2017, that would eliminate the EAC and the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. Some of the PECF duties would move to the Federal Election Commission. The EAC has the task of supporting state and local election officials to ensure accessible, accurate and secure elections.

“The existence of the EAC is not necessary to conduct federal elections and is a waste of taxpayer funds. It was only meant to run temporarily following the 2000 election. Instead, this organization has taken federal resources for a decade and a half. To date, most of its functions have ended, and those remaining functions are easily transferrable to the Federal Elections Commission. What taxpayers are left with is an agency that has outlived its resources, and cost taxpayers millions.” Chairman of the Administration Committee, Gregg Harper (R-MS) said.

EAC Chairman, Thomas Hicks, had this to say about his organization, “At a time when the Department of Homeland Security has designated elections systems as part of the country’s critical infrastructure, election officials face cyber security threats. Our nation’s voting machinery is aging and there are accusations of election irregularities, the EAC is the only federal agency bridging the gap between federal guidance and the needs of state and local election officials. We test and certify election systems and provide access to best practices to ensure accessible, accurate, and secure elections. It also provides vital information to millions of Americans seeking voter registration information and wondering where to cast their ballot.”

The EAC has a budget of about $8.1 million and employs around 30 people.

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