The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is expected to unveil plans this month to move several welfare-related functions from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Specifically, the restructuring would relocate the $70 billion food stamp program from Agriculture to HHS, and it would also transfer the school nutrition program over to HHS as well.
The thinking, originally developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation, is that HHS is already responsible for entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid and also for the Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) cash assistance program, so transferring the programs would be a natural fit.
“The USDA has veered off of its mission by working extensively on issues unrelated to agriculture,” Heritage wrote. “This is mostly due to the nutrition programs. By moving this welfare function to HHS, the USDA will be better able to work on agricultural issues impacting all Americans.”
The White House also desires to change the name of Health and Human Services, which used to be the Department of Health, Education and Welfare before the Department of Education was created in 1979. The new name may reincorporate the word “welfare.”
What about Other Agencies?
In 2017, OMB Director Mike Mulvaney asked all federal agencies to come up with plans to reduce their workforces, and the budget he submitted to Congress envisioned big agency cuts, but none materialized in the final federal budget. There was also a plan afoot to combine the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with the Office of of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP), but that never made it through Congress either.