White House to propose merging Labor, Education departments: WSJ

FILE PHOTO: The White House in the evening, in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House plans to propose on Thursday to merge the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Citing a person with knowledge of the proposal, the Journal said the plan follows a review of Cabinet agencies that looked for ways to shrink the federal government.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Congress would likely have to approve the merger, and it was unclear whether lawmakers would be in favor of a major governmental reorganization with November elections looming.

Republicans have long complained about the size of the federal government and many have taken particular aim at the Education Department, which they see as intruding on local and state authority.

President Donald Trump also plans to propose as early as Thursday moving many social safety net programs into a new “megadepartment” that would replace the Health and Human Services Department, The New York Times reported, citing administration officials briefed on the proposal.

Among the programs to be moved to the new department is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which serves more than 40 million low-income Americans, the Times said. SNAP currently is run by the Agriculture Department.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is the architect of the plan, the newspaper said. OMB did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Diane Craft and Leslie Adler