Obama plan merges six agencies, may save $3B

President Obama’s slimming down plan would merge SBA, parts of Commerce and other trade and business agencies into one department.

President Barack Obama today unveiled his plan to consolidate six government agencies into one, effectively eliminating the Commerce Department and saving up to $3 billion in the next decade, according to the administration.

Obama said the consolidation would create a more efficient agency to promote competitiveness, exports and American business, according to the White House website.

Currently, there are six major departments and agencies that focus primarily on business and trade in the federal government -- Commerce’s core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Consolidating these agencies along with other related programs, thereby cutting up to 2,000 jobs through attrition, will help entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes grow, compete, and hire, according to the White House. There would be one department with one mission: spur job creation and expand the U.S. economy.

The president asked Congress to grant him the authority to merge the agencies and if lawmakers agree, they would be required to hold an up-or-down vote on the plan within 90 days of its submission.