Trump signs executive order aiming to trim government costs

President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order entitled 'Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch' in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 13, 2017.
Michael Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday aiming to find where within federal agencies the U.S. government can trim costs.

The order directs Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to "propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies ... components of agencies and agency programs," according to text released by the White House. It gives the heads of agencies 180 days to submit a reorganization plan.

The order comes amid a broad early push by the Trump administration to identify and cut what it calls burdensome regulations or spending in the federal government. Trump already signed an order last month directing federal agencies to create "regulatory reform" task forces which will evaluate federal rules and recommend whether to keep, repeal or change them.

After he receives agency leaders' recommendations, Mulvaney will get another 180 days to submit a plan to Trump. It will include "recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, agency programs and to merge functions."

Press secretary Sean Spicer said the measure will require a "thorough examination" of executive departments and agencies to find out "where money is being wasted." Spicer did not identify specific agencies that it could affect or give a target of cuts the administration will try to reach.

He said agencies would try to find functions that are "duplicative" or outdated to make the federal government more "efficient."

Trump has argued that his push to trim the federal government will not only help to reduce government spending but also reduce burdens holding back businesses. Critics of his agenda have said he could compromise government functions that protect public health or promote national security.