WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney, at various stops on the campaign trail Thursday, unveiled a new attack on President Barack Obama for suggesting he’d create a new secretary of business in a second term, under which he would consolidate existing agencies.
“Now, I know the president’s been trying to figure out some way to suggest he’s got some new ideas. … He’s got to find something to suggest it’s going to be better over the next four years,” Romney said at a campaign stop in Virginia. “And so he came up with an idea last week, which is he’s going to create the department of business. I don’t think adding a new chair in his Cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street.”
“We don’t need a secretary of business to understand business,” Romney said. “We need a president who understands business, and I do.
Earlier in the morning, Romney’s campaign put out an advertisement on the secretary of business comments.
And later in the day, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan went after the idea on the stump. “We already have a secretary of business,” Ryan said, “it’s called the secretary of commerce.”
It’s worth exploring exactly what the president was talking about when he mentioned the secretary of business idea. Here is the statement he made during an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe that aired on Monday.
“I’ve said that I want to consolidate a whole bunch of government agencies,” Obama said. “We should have one secretary of business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA [the Small Business Administration] or helping companies with exports.”
The idea, in essence, is not to create a new government agency, but to merge parts of several under one roof. It’s not exactly new. The president endorsed the concept during his State of the Union address in 2011 and set about outlining an executive branch reorganization effort in January 2012. It didn’t go far, in part, White House officials say, because such a reorganization would need congressional approval.
Obama’s idea had prominent backing from business leaders and from different ideological points along the political spectrum.-huffingtonpost.com