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Obama agenda: Merging Commerce and USTR

The AP writes (and NBC’s Kristen Welker confirms): “A senior administration official says President Barack Obama will ask Congress for more power to streamline the government by merging agencies. And if Obama gets the fast-track power he wants, his first proposal would be to combine sprawling trade and commerce operations into one. The official says Obama is seeking what the White House is calling a consolidation authority. It would allow the president to present specific cost-saving proposals to Congress and get a guaranteed up-or-down vote within 90 days. The official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement by the president later Friday. Obama's first idea is to merge six departments and agencies that focus on commerce and trade. The goal would be to save money and help businesses by dumping duplicative programs and Web sites.”

President Obama will announce this at 11:20 am ET.