Gore Launches Plan to Recast Government

THE White House Sept. 7 recommended a wide array of cuts, consolidations, and changes in the federal bureaucracy that it said would save $108 billion by century's end.

The streamlined government would have 252,000 fewer jobs, with thousands of federal employees phased out through attrition, buyouts, early retirement, and retraining for private sector jobs. Reducing the civilian, nonpostal work force by 12 percent would bring the federal payroll below 2 million employees for the first time since 1967, the White House says.

The report from the so-called National Performance Review, led by Vice President Al Gore Jr., said its proposals would ``reduce waste, eliminate unneeded bureaucracy, improve services to taxpayers, and create a leaner but more productive government.''

``From Red Tape to Results: Creating a Government that Works Better and Costs Less,'' recommended cutting wasteful and duplicative programs, including:

* Ten percent of the Agriculture Department's 12,000 field offices.

* All regional offices at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, plus a promise to ``pare down'' its system of 80 field offices and cut its 10,000-person field staff by 1,500.

* Five of the US Army Corps of Engineers' 11 field offices.

As expected, the White House said law enforcement functions of the Drug Enforcement Administration should be merged into the FBI. The White House also wants to merge the law enforcement arm of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms with the FBI and combine ATF's regulatory and revenue functions with the Internal Revenue Service.

The restructuring would also:

* Overhaul the budget process, give managers more power to hire, fire and reward employees, eliminate the ``regulatory overkill,'' and make it easier for workers to buy government equipment on the private market.

* Make service organizations such as government printing, real estate, and management enterprises compete with the private sector.

* Increase the ratio of supervisors-to-workers from 1-to-7 to 1-to-15, hold workers more accountable and offer them more training.

The president likely will sign executive orders implementing some of the suggestions later in the week.

The report did not say precisely how many of the 800 recommendations needed congressional approval. But Senate GOP leader Bob Dole suggested Sept. 7 on NBC that Republicans could support the plan.

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