Obama’s plans mean musical chairs for the Cabinet

President Obama’s plans to reorganize the government would mean brief — but not permanent — changes to the Cabinet.


Karen Mills, administrator of the Small Business Administration. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Under proposals unveiled Friday, Obama said he is elevating the Small Business Administration and SBA Administrator Karen Mills back to Cabinet-level status, a perch not enjoyed by the agency since Bill Clinton’s presidency.

But SBA would lose its plum spot if Obama’s reorganization plans are implemented as proposed.

The new department comprising elements of the Commerce Department, the SBA, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Trade and Development Agency would be led by a Cabinet secretary. The U.S. Trade Representative (currently Ron Kirk) would report to the new Cabinet secretary, but maintain Cabinet-level status, similar to how U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has a Cabinet seat even though her boss is Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And what about the SBA administrator? The agency would be merged into the new department, its director would report to the new secretary, but would not maintain Cabinet-level status, administration officials said Friday.

Soak it up while you can, Karen Mills, it won’t last forever.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Further reading:

Obama seeks more power to reorganize agencies

Commerce revamp could weaken trade policy

For more, visit PostPolitics and The Fed Page.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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