The Reagan administration is planning to seek legislation to eliminate what it views as statutory roadblocks to streamlining and reorganizing the federal government, according to a draft copy of the plan obtained from the Office of Management and Budget.
The plan, which has been approved in principle by President Reagan, is scheduled to be submitted to Congress next month along with the fiscal 1986 budget.
It is designed to "take the Congress head-on" by proposing changes that will give the administration more power to manage the executive branch without item-by-item congressional oversight.
A wide variety of federal laws restrict the chief executive. For example, some agencies are required to maintain specific staffing levels, some agencies must maintain field offices in certain cities and some agencies cannot charge certain user fees.
Steve Tupper, OMB's management spokesman, confirmed the substance of the plan's key components and said it is undergoing final review by OMB lawyers.
As drafted, the proposal would not allow the president to merge or shut down agencies without congressional approval.
But Tupper said Friday, "That could change. I just can't say for sure, right now."
One provision of the draft plan appears to revive a form of the legislative veto that the Supreme Court struck down in 1983.
The draft plan states that future management proposals would be submitted "at least annually" to Capitol Hill and that "Congress would have x days to consider the proposal -- if not rejected by either house, the proposal becomes law."
Senior aides to the House Government Operations and Senate Governmental Affairs committees said the legislative veto provision could become a major obstacle to passage of the proposals.
"The administration has to realize that no one objects to the president having reorganization authority, but the Senate will want to know what the president is going to do with it -- specifically, not broadly," said a senior aide to the Senate committee's majority staff. "It's like giving someone a gun to go hunting and not knowing if they're going to come back and use it on you, or in this case, your favorite program."
Peggy Crenshaw, minority staff director of the Senate committee, said the administration is "going to have a problem with the Supreme Court -- not with Congress -- if they want a one-house veto."
A senior OMB official, who asked not to be named, said the administration may decide to ask Congress to allow it to propose reorganization or management-reform packages under a fast-track approach. It might decide to seek reorganization authority similar to that of President Jimmy Carter, which lapsed in December. Under Carter, reorganization proposals took effect unless rejected by one chamber within 90 days.
However, in earlier hearings, the House Rules Committee has indicated that it is opposed to considering legislation on a schedule faster than the House usually follows.
Although OMB officials say the plan is virtually complete, one said the administration may decide to have President Reagan "exercise his constitutional authority" to manage the executive branch, without seeking congressional approval.
Deputy OMB Director Joseph R. Wright Jr., the plan's architect, said the administration is determined to push through the "management improvements developed under the Reform '88 program" a year ahead of its original fiscal 1987 schedule and to try to "make it easier for government to deliver services to the people in an efficient manner. Right now, all we have is a mess, in most cases."
OMB's Tupper also said administration officials are debating whether to submit a single bill (as suggested in the draft plan) or a separate bill for each agency. Some officials at OMB, according to Tupper, believe that this would help avoid the problem of having an "omnibus" measure "referred to scores of committees for a long period of time."
Among other things, the proposed legislation, as drafted, would:
* Eliminate statutory staffing requirements for units of the Veterans Administration and the Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior and Transportation departments.
* Authorize an agency to transfer up to 10 percent of its appropriated funds to accounts other than the ones for which they were designated.
* Eliminate laws that bar the General Services Administration, the National Park Service, the VA and DOD from contracting out some of their functions.
* Authorize federal agencies to tailor federal debt repayment schedules to maximize the return when the alternative is a default and to use private attorneys to collect debts.
* Establish standards for permissible error rates in payments to private vendors and salary checks for government workers.
* Allow federal agencies to set "reasonable fees" to offset the costs of providing specialized services that benefit a clearly identified "population."
* Allow GSA to lease office space without seeking approval of the House Public Works subcommittee on public buildings and grounds and authorize GSA to let agencies manage their own property.
One aide to Brooks said, "We're not against good management, only against indiscriminate handling of employes. People have to be treated like people.