DOI Reorganization Hearing- DOI has not provided Congress with its reorganization plan
By Ben Lefebvre, PoliticoPro
04/30/2019 01:19 PM EDT
Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee complained today the Interior Department has refused to hand over a plan to reorganize the agency that former secretary Ryan Zinke submitted to the White House in 2017 for approval.
Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and oversight subcommittee head Rep. T.J. Cox (D-Calif). sent a letter on April 10 requesting a document entitled “Agency Reform Plan – FINAL” that Zinke sent to the Office of Management and Budget in September 2017.
Democrats criticized Interior for creating the plan with little input from Congress or the local groups that would be affected, including Native American tribes. Zinke’s plan would redraw many of the jurisdictional borders for Interior agencies and move the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters to a Western state.
“This committee has repeatedly sought information from Interior,” Cox said during a hearing on the issue. “We’ve been repeatedly denied.”
“If Secretary Bernhardt wants to implement the Zinke reorganization plans, he needs to start by providing Congress with a complete justification and a plan,” Cox added.
Interior Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget Scott Cameron told Cox that Interior was working on a response to the committee but stopped short of saying it would contain the original document.
“The document in question was actually a submission from Zinke to OMB, and as such it did not represent a final document in terms of representing the views of the White House,” Cameron said. “I’m not in a position at the point to promise you we’ll give you the document. I do promise we’ll be responding to the letter and, I hope, shortly.”