President Obama called on Congress to reinstate Presidential authority to reorganize and consolidate the federal government in order to drive proposals to streamline government services, focusing first on agencies that serve American businesses.

“We live in a 21stcentury economy, but we’ve still got a government organized for the 20thcentury. Our economy has fundamentally changed – as has the world – but the government has not. The needs of our citizens have fundamentally changed but their government has not,” President Obama said.

Almost every President from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan had reorganization authority. Unlike the authority granted in the past, the President’s proposal would initiate new accountability by mandating that any plan must reduce the number of government agencies or save taxpayer dollars. It would also ensure expedient review by Congress.

The President laid out his first proposed use of that authority consolidating six agencies into one more efficient agency to promote competitiveness, exports and American business. The plan involves consolidating the following six agencies: U.S. Department of Commerce’s core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Consolidating these agencies along with other related programs will help entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes grow, compete, and hire, leveraging one cohesive Department with one mission: to spur job creation and expand the U.S. economy.

During a conference call with reporters, Federal Chief Performance Officer and the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget Jeff Zients said the reorganization would mean between 1,000 and 2000 full-time administrative support employees will be eliminated through attrition across the six agencies.

“The very essence of this is to improve how we serve small, medium and large businesses across the country,” he said. “Most importantly, by doing this we will serve businesses, especially small businesses, much better. Today, when businesses want to export goods or finance a new building they have to go through dozens of web sites and applications. Now they will have one web site and one phone number.”

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel praised the president’s proposal during a presentation he gave luncheon hosted in Washington by the Association for Federal Information Management, saying:

“It’s taking an inside looking out perspective and making it outside looking in. There are a lot of places and opportunities to break through the quagmire that is business interaction.”