A scheme authorized by federal law and promulgated by the president whereby he or she alters the structure of federal agencies to promote government efficiency and economy through a transfer, consolidation, coordination, authorization, or abolition of functions.
A reorganization plan must specify the reorganizations that the president deems to be necessary after making an investigation. A plan may provide for
- the transfer of the whole or a part of an agency, or of the whole or a part of the functions thereof, to the jurisdiction and control of another agency;
- the abolition of all or a part of the functions of an agency, except that no enforcement function or statutory program shall be abolished by the plan;
- the consolidation or coordination of the whole or a part of an agency, or of the whole or a part of the functions thereof, with the whole or a part of another agency or the functions thereof;
- the consolidation or coordination of a part of an agency or the functions thereof with another part of the same agency or the functions thereof;
- the authorization of an officer to delegate any of his or her functions; or
- the abolition of the whole or a part of an agency that does not have, or on the taking effect of the reorganization plan will not have, any functions.
No more than three plans may be pending before Congress at one time. In the message conveying a reorganization plan, the president must specify, with respect to each abolition of a function encompassed in the plan, the statutory authority for the exercise of the function. The message must also estimate any reduction or increase in expenditures, itemized whenever practicable, and describe in detail any improvements in management, delivery of federal services, execution of the laws, and increases in efficiency of government operations that, it is expected, will ensue from the reorganization plan.
The president can withdraw the plan at any time prior to the conclusion of 60 calendar days of a continuous session of Congress, following the date on which the plan is submitted to Congress.
Additional contents of a reorganization plan are permitted by federal law. A reorganization plan submitted by the president
- may change, in such cases as the president considers necessary, the name of an agency affected by a reorganization and the title of its head and shall designate the name of an agency resulting from a reorganization and the title of its head;
- may provide for the appointment and pay of the head and one or more officers of any agency (including an agency resulting from a consolidation or other type of reorganization), if the president finds and, in the message transmitting the plan, declares that by reason of a reorganization made by the plan, the provisions are necessary;
- shall provide for the transfer or other disposition of the records, property, and personnel affected by a reorganization;
- shall provide for the transfer of such unexpended balances of appropriations, and of other funds, available for use in connection with a function or agency affected by a reorganization, as the president considers necessary by reason of the reorganization for use in connection with the functions affected by the reorganization, or for the use of the agency that shall have the functions after the reorganization plan is effective; and
- shall provide for terminating the affairs of an abolished agency.
A reorganization plan can neither provide for nor have the effect of
- creating a new executive department, abolishing or transferring an executive department or independent regulatory agency, or all the functions thereof, or consolidating two or more executive departments or two or more independent regulatory agencies, or all the functions thereof;
- continuing an agency beyond the period authorized by law for its existence or beyond the time when it would have terminated if the reorganization had not been made;
- continuing a function beyond the period authorized by law for its exercise or beyond the time when it would have terminated if the reorganization had not been made;
- authorizing an agency to exercise a function that is not expressly authorized by law at the time the plan is transmitted to Congress;
- increasing the term of an office beyond that provided by law for the office; or
- dealing with more than one logically consistent subject matter.
A reorganization plan ordinarily is effective at the conclusion of the first period of 60 calendar days of continuous session of Congress after the date on which the plan is transmitted to it, unless, between the transmittal date and the end of the 60-day period, either house passes a resonlution declaring that the house does not favor the reorganization plan. A reorganization plan can prescribe that its provisions will be effective at a time later than the date on which the plan otherwise would be effective. In addition, if both houses of Congress have defeated a resolution of disapproval, the provisions can be effective at a time earlier than the expiration of the 60-day period.
An effective reorganization plan is published in the statutes at large, in the same volume as the public laws, and in the FEDERAL REGISTER.
If a statute is enacted, an action taken, a regulation promulgated by an agency, or a function affected by a reorganization before the effective date of the reorganization, it has, except to the extent rescinded, modified, superseded, or made inapplicable by or under authority of law, or by the abolition of a function, the same effect as if the reorganization had not been made. If, however, the statute, regulation, or other action has vested the functions in the agency from which it is removed under the reorganization plan, the function, insofar as it is to be exercised after the plan becomes effective, is regarded as vested in the agency under which the function is placed by the plan.
A suit, action, or other proceeding lawfully instituted by or against the head of an agency or other officer of the United States, in his official capacity, or in relation to the performance of his official duties, does not abate because a reorganization plan becomes effective. If a motion, an application for a court order, or a supplemental petition showing a necessity for a survival of the suit, action, or proceeding is filed at any time within 12 months after the reorganization plan takes effect, the court may allow the suit, action, or proceeding to be maintained by or against the successor of the head or officer under the reorganization achieved by the plan or, if there is no successor, against such agency or officer as the president designates.
The appropriations or portions thereof unexpended because of the operation of the reorganization plan revert to the TREASURY DEPARTMENT.
Gilmour, Robert S., and Alexis A. Halley. 1994. Who Makes Public Policy?: The Struggle Between Congress and the Executive. New York: Seven Bridges.