Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, whose bold and often unattainable plans have set him apart in a crowded primary field, said in a policy address on Wednesday that he would dismiss more than 75 percent of the government work force and shut down several important agencies.
Mr. Ramaswamy has promised to abolish several federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Food and Nutrition Service, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives. He has promised to transfer some of their duties to other government entities.
Mr. Ramaswamy, 38, said that if he were elected president, he could implement the changes without consulting Congress, advancing the broad argument that the executive has the right to reorganise the federal government on his own and does not need to submit such recommendations to Congress for approval.
His argument echoed that of his role model, former President Donald J. Trump, who, towards the conclusion of his tenure, also attempted to increase political influence over the federal labour force. Mr. Ramaswamy, much like Mr. Trump, has criticised sections of the federal government as a “deep state.”
His idea was described in a campaign white paper, but experts on separation of powers and administrative law argued the legal arguments underpinning it were incorrect and would not hold up in court.
Separation-of-powers law expert and NYU visiting researcher Peter M. Shane deemed the article “fantastic.” Professor emeritus of law at Columbia University Peter L. Strauss stated the document pulled pieces of statute law “out of context” while “totally ignoring the Constitution,” which requires the U.S. Congress to establish the government departments and agencies over which the president presides.
Law enforcement, background checks for firearm purchases, student financial aid, and special education programmes would all be disrupted if Mr. Ramaswamy followed through on his promise to shut down large sections of the government and fire most of its employees.
There are around 2.25 million civilian employees in the United States government. In order to save billions of dollars in the federal budget, the government would have to lay off more than 75 percent of its workforce, or more than 1.6 million people.
Despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Departments of Defence, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security employ nearly 60% of federal civilian workers, Mr. Ramaswamy did not propose any cuts to any of these agencies in his Wednesday remarks or in any other campaign materials.
While Mr. Ramaswamy did mention some agencies he planned to eliminate, he also indicated he planned to transfer many of those agencies’ responsibilities to other groups, implying that many of the same positions would still be available.
After the FBI looked into any links between Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, he and other Trump-style Republicans began calling for the agency’s abolition.
Despite receiving fewer than 10% of the vote in Republican primary surveys, Mr. Ramaswamy has positioned himself as the future of the party and a radical conservative in the mould of Mr. Trump.
On Wednesday, he made certain recommendations that highlighted the continuity between himself and the prior president. They’ve both taken aim at the FBI and other government organisations in the past. Mr. Trump had also intended, in a potential second term, to remove job protections from tens of thousands of career federal workers, put independent agencies under direct presidential supervision, and purge individuals he has derided as “the sick political class that hates our country.”
Mr. Ramaswamy’s suggestions, however, envisioned a much more extensive demolition. During his lecture, he paused to enjoy the provocative nature of his ideas.