How Many Federal Agencies Exist? We Can’t Drain The Swamp Until We Know

No one can even say with certainty anymore how many federal agencies exist; yet they make most of the law now rather than our elected Congress. And their drive to protect turf is quite high.

That’s something worth remembering as the Donald Trump administration proceeds with its “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch,” set to be incorporated into the upcoming fiscal year 2019 federal budget proposal.

For example, there’s a twice-yearly publication called the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The Agenda compiles agency regulatory plans and actions in the federal pipeline, and it listed 61 agencies in the Fall 2016 edition. That count can vary slightly from report to report. But as we’ll see, its tally is on the low side.

Incidentally, the once-routine Unified Agenda’s April-and-October schedule became a thing of the past, as it has been published late or failed to appear at all (as in Spring 2012 under then-president Obama). The Spring 2017 Trump edition of the Agenda has yet to appear, and now Independence Day has passed.

The Trump delay may or may not be attributable to the reorganization effort, and to the prominent executive order requiring the elimination of at least two rules for every new agency rule created. Both would clearly affect agency priorities and reporting, regardless of their resistance.

Read more of this Forbes op-ed by Wayne Crews by clicking here.