A favorite Presidential dish to exemplify the need to streamline the government...
On Friday morning President Obama took a joke he made last year about salmon regulations out of the deep freeze, and referenced it as he called on Congress to reinstate presidential authority to reorganize the Executive Branch. Salmon is a popular dish at Mr. Obama's social events, though not as popular as beef, which reigns supreme. The President's snappy salmon story first came during his 2011 Sate of the Union Address, as he was citing byzantine federal food safety regulations. Today, speaking from the East Room, he embroidered on the story, hailing it as his "favorite example" of government making it hard to do business. And he credited President Richard Nixon with the problem. (Above: The SOTU was livecast with "enhanced graphics" by the White House; the President appeared onscreen with salmon)
"The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater," the President quipped in 2011. "And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."
Today the President referenced his joke as he noted that there are "more than a dozen agencies dealing with food safety," and he said the complications all happened thanks to a spat Nixon had with his Interior Secretary.
"As it turns out, the Interior Department is in charge of salmon in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in saltwater," President Obama said. "If you’re wondering what the genesis of this was, apparently, it had something to do with President Nixon being unhappy with his Interior Secretary for criticizing him about the Vietnam War. And so he decided not to put NOAA in what would have been a more sensible place." (Above: The President today)
NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere, and is part of the Department of Commerce, rather than the Department of the Interior.
Business and nonprofit leaders would not "allow this kind of duplication or unnecessary complexity in their operations," President Obama added as he finished his salmon story.
The President is seeking to collapse six federal entities into one agency: The 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.
The President announced on Friday that he has elevated the Small Business Administration to a Cabinet-level agency, and announced a new website, BusinessUSA.gov. The plan is a follow up to the 2011 State of the Union Address, the White House said.