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On Thursday, the President called on Congress to partner with him on reforming and consolidating the Federal government for the 21st century, to make it leaner, smarter, and work better for the American people and America’s businesses. The Administration sent Congress the Consolidating and Reforming Government Act of 2012 to reinstate the authority Presidents held for decades to put forward, for expedited consideration by Congress, plans to consolidate and reform the Federal government. And to guarantee the authority would only be used to make government more efficient, the President’s proposal adds a new requirement that any reorganization plan must save money or reduce the size of government.
As many of you know, the President announced last month that, if Congress gives him consolidation authority, his first action would be to make it easier for America’s job creators to access the services they need to grow and export. The President laid out a plan to bring together six agencies focused on business and trade and a handful of other related programs in a single more efficient and effective department with a laser-like focus on promoting American business, exports and competitiveness, while saving taxpayers $3 billion dollars.
Until Congress acts, however, the President believes we must do what we can to make it easier for businesses to find the programs they need to grow, export, and create jobs. Toward that end, the Administration is taking two important steps today.
First, the President is taking executive action today to ensure we are doing all we can administratively to enhance and reduce duplication in our trade and competitiveness programs. The President is issuing a Memorandum to strengthen his Export Promotion Cabinet, giving it more authority to align interagency efforts and directing Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, Mike Froman, to coordinate its activities. The memorandum directs the Export Cabinet to work across federal agencies with trade responsibilities to maximize the combined effectiveness of their programs and resources in support of his Administration’s strategic trade and investment goals, including working in consultation with the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee to evaluate the allocation of federal resources, make recommendations for streamlining overlapping or duplicative programs, and create a unified federal trade budget. Finally, the Presidential Memorandum directs the Cabinet to work with the National Economic Council to coordinate administrative initiatives to enhance programs that support American businesses, particularly small businesses, in order to help them innovate, grow, and increase exports.
Second, we are launching BusinessUSA,a new online platform that will serve as a virtual one-stop shop for businesses. As part of our government reform initiative, we spoke with hundreds of business owners across the country to hear what works and what doesn’t when you deal with the government’s trade and competitiveness agencies and programs. Entrepreneurs – especially small business owners – told us that they don’t have the time or resources to navigate the maze of government agencies and need a one stop shop where they could go for all the assistance they need at every stage of their development.
BusinessUSA will make it easier than ever for small businesses and exporters of all sizes to find information about available federal services to help them grow and hire. It will bring together, in one consolidated website with one coordinated telephone support network, hundreds of business services and programs from 10 different government agencies, and link to other opportunities from dozens of additional agencies. It’s a “No Wrong Door” approach for small businesses and exporters from the day they need technical assistance to start a business, to the day they start building a product and need financing, to the day they are ready to export and need help breaking into new markets overseas.
These important steps, along with additional steps announced today, will help more American businesses sell their products around the world, create jobs right here at home, and help us build an economy that lasts.
Lisa Brown is Acting Chief Performance Officer