President Trump on Monday ordered a top-to-bottom audit of every Executive Branch department and agency to save money and improve services.
“This executive order is another major step toward making the federal government efficient, effective and accountable to the people,” Trump said in signing the order at the White House, while flanked by Cabinet members.
“There is duplication and redundancy everywhere. Billions and billions of dollars are being wasted on activities that are not delivering results,” he added.
Trump called for the review three days before giving Congress his first budget proposal, which is expected to include deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and other departments to cover an anticipated $54 billion increase in Defense Department spending.
He also said the “thorough” review will be led by the Office of Management and Budget and include public input.
Trump said the review will make the agencies “as lean and as effective as possible,” eliminate billions of dollars in redundancies and determine whether services are “truly serving the American people.”
Among the other agencies and programs also purportedly facing cuts are the departments of Education, Energy, State and Housing and Urban Development.
Preliminary reports show a 25 percent cut to the EPA, with the elimination of 3,000 jobs and the end of a $300 million annual program to clean up the Great Lakes.
However, the reports show increases to such Cabinet-level agencies as the Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security departments, including $3 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Roughly $1 trillion of Trump’s overall estimated $4 trillion annual federal budget goes to Cabinet agencies and departments.
The remainder of his budget — proposals on taxes, mandatory spending and deficits and projections on the economy — won’t come out until May.
“This is the beginning of a long overdue reorganization of the federal government,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said early Monday.
The proposed Energy Department cuts could impact the agencies’ 17 national laboratories, which have conducted research in such fields as nuclear power. And they could result in a 30 percent budget reduction to a department office that has funded research on LED light bulbs, electric trucks, advanced batteries and biofuels.
Trump’s preliminary budget also purportedly proposes a 37 percent cut to the State Department and foreign aid budgets.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.