(Adds White House confirmation, Trump comments on regulations,
previous reorganization efforts)
By Susan Heavey and David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, March 27 U.S. President Donald
Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, already a White House senior
adviser, will take on the additional task of overseeing an
effort to overhaul the federal government, the White House said
Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump,
will lead a White House Office of American Innovation to
leverage business ideas and potentially privatize some
government functions as the White House pushes to shrink
government, cut federal employees and eliminate regulations.
"This office will bring together the best ideas from
government, the private sector, and other thought leaders to
ensure that America is ready to solve today's most intractable
problems," Trump said in a memorandum creating the office that
includes about a dozen White House officials.
Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to "drain the swamp," has
enacted a hiring freeze for most civilian federal jobs and
proposed massive cuts in U.S. domestic agencies that could
shrink the size of government by thousands of workers
The Republican president has also proposed sweeping cuts in
government regulations and plans to sign an order on Tuesday
rolling back some energy regulations.
"We have a lot more coming," he said on Monday at a ceremony
signing bills to repeal four regulations, vowing to eliminate
every "job-killing regulation that we can find."
A number of recent presidents including Bill Clinton, George
W. Bush and Barack Obama had mixed success with their own
initiatives to reinvent or streamline government using
suggestions from the private sector.
Kushner has been a regular presence at his father-in-law's
side and was earlier cleared by the Justice Department to serve
as a White House senior adviser even as Democrats raised
concerns about potential conflicts of interest.
He has been given a wide range of domestic and foreign
policy responsibilities, including working on a Middle East
peace deal. He will continue to serve in the other roles even as
he takes up the new duties, the White House said.
Last week, Ivanka Trump received her own office in the White
House along with access to classified information and a
government-issued phone. Aides had said earlier she would not
take on a role in her father's White House.
The Washington Post quoted aides as saying she would
collaborate with Kushner's innovation office but would not have
an official role.
TAKING ON WASHINGTON
Among past efforts to overhaul the way Washington works,
Clinton in 1993 called for "reinventing government." His reforms
led to a slower pace of federal hiring, reducing the federal
workforce by 240,000 jobs and closing small offices. Congress
did not agree to some of the more aggressive cuts.
Bush proposed government management reforms, but ended up
focusing largely on restructuring national security agencies
after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, folding many agencies into
the new Department of Homeland Security.
Obama in 2012 proposed closing the Commerce Department and
creating a new export agency, saving $3 billion over 10 years
and cutting 1,000 plus jobs. His plans failed to get
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Peter Cooney)