President Obama has asked Congress for the authority to consolidate the roles of several federal agencies, which he said would lead to streamlined services and a smaller government workforce. The new department would combine the trade and commerce functions of the:
Small Business Administration,
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative,
Overseas Private Investment Corp. and the
Trade and Development Agency.
The Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics would also be included to focus on government statistical data. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — now the largest part of Commerce’s budget — would be moved to the Interior Department.
The new department would be led by a Cabinet secretary; the U.S. trade representative would remain a member of the Cabinet.
Congress would be able to vote on each specific proposed merger. (Wash Post, 1/13/2012)