WASHINGTON (AP) - Seeking more power to shrink the government, President Barack Obama on Friday suggested smashing six economic agencies into one, an election-year idea intended to halt bureaucratic nightmares and force Republicans to back him on one of their own favorite issues.
"The government we have is not the government we need," Obama told business owners he'd gathered at the White House.
Lawmakers seemed willing to at least consider his ideas.
Sounding like a manager of a disorganized company, and looking like one by pointing to slides as he spoke, Obama asked Congress to give him a kind of reorganization power no president has had since Ronald Reagan.
It would guarantee Obama a vote, within 90 days, on any idea he offers to consolidate agencies, provided it saves money and cuts the government.
His first potential target: Merging six major trade and commerce agencies into a one-stop-shopping department for American businesses.
The Commerce Department would be among those that would cease to exist.
Attacking senseless duplication across the executive branch he runs, Obama said: "Why is it OK for our government? It's not. It has to change."