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Trump proposes U.S. federal government reorganization

Food regulation, graduate education among changes put forward

by Andrea Widener
June 23, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 26

The Trump administration offered a major overhaul of the executive branch of the U.S. government on June 21, including changes that would impact many science and environment agencies.

How many of these changes can be made without congressional approval is yet to be seen. The proposal suggests hundreds of reforms, but the 132-page report is short on details. Here are a few examples of proposed changes:

Food safety: Primary food safety regulation responsibilities would transfer to the Department of Agriculture, and the Food & Drug Administration would be renamed the Federal Drug Administration.

Environmental oversight: After consultation with states, EPA’s regional offices would be consolidated and some of their activities moved to other locations. EPA’s labs would also be evaluated to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Graduate research fellowships: Federal graduate research fellowships from smaller agencies would move under the administration of NSF. The report did not specify which fellowships would move.

Applied energy research: The Department of Energy’s work on fossil fuels, renewables, and other applied energy research would be consolidated into a single Office of Energy Innovation. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) would become part of this office.

Health labs: Three health research centers, including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, would move under the NIH umbrella.

Federal labs: NASA would look into whether one or more of its sites should become a federally funded research and development center. These national labs are typically run by the private sector for the federal government.


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