Presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy outlined plans to slash federal jobs, regulations, and agencies, detailing the existing laws he says empower his agenda.
In his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Vivek Ramaswamy outlined his domestic policy agenda in a Sept. 13 speech at the America First Policy Institute that included a detailed plan for slashing the federal employee headcount by 50 percent in his first year and 75 percent during his first term.
That would add up to more than 1 million jobs in the first year and roughly 1.5 million jobs during the term as a whole, Ramaswamy campaign spokesperson Zach Henry said in a message to The Epoch Times.
“Speaking as a CEO, if somebody works for you and you can’t fire them, that means they don’t work for you. It means you work for them because you’re responsible for what they do without any authority to actually change it,” Mr. Ramaswamy, a businessman who has worked in biotech and asset management, told the crowd.
The presidential hopeful also explained how he would use the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limiting the scope of the agency’s regulatory powers, to rescind most federal regulations on the books.
“This is just the beginning of the list of federal agencies that we will either shut down or downsize by 75 percent or more,” Mr. Ramaswamy said toward the end of his speech.
Mr. Ramaswamy’s remarks at the America First Policy Institute come weeks after he delivered a speech on his foreign policy objectives at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California.
In Granular Detail
Mr. Ramaswamy began by explaining why he chose to speak at the America First Policy Institute. That organization is led by business executive Linda McMahon, broadcast news personality Larry Kudlow, and others who helped shape and implement the Trump administration’s domestic agenda.
“You have been at the bleeding edge of this fight. This is not an individual sport. This is a team sport. There will be no political messiah coming from the White House on high to save us,” Mr. Ramaswamy said.
Beginning with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, the United States has witnessed “a gradual waterfall of political responsibility in this country, moving away from Congress and the Senate and the U.S. presidency towards three-letter government agencies that wield the most political power in the federal government despite having the least political accountability,” according to the candidate.
Using visual aids, he then walked through what he described as “myths” about the limits on presidential authority that he said have been “perpetuated in this town by advisers and members of the very bureaucracy we’re looking to shut down.” To support his case, he delved into relevant sections of the United States Code (USC) in granular detail.
“Large-scale mass layoffs are absolutely what we will bring to the DC bureaucracy,” Mr. Ramaswamy pledged to applause and cheers from the America First Policy Institute audience.
He suggested that potential cabinet position heads should be subject to a “litmus test”–”that that agency head is prepared to carry out mass layoff[s].”
“Who would have ever thought it’s worth paying attention to the words of the law itself?” he said.
He further argued that the Supreme Court case INS v. Chadha does not limit the president’s mandate over agencies as established by the Reorganization Act of 1977.
Before outlining his plans to rescind regulations and eliminate various agencies, Mr. Ramaswamy presented what he called “the final real myth… this idea that the administrative state as we know it is somehow an impartial, scientific management project that is able to take on what ‘We the People’ can’t be trusted with.”
Rescinding Regulations and Eliminating Agencies
Mr. Ramaswamy argued that the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA last year changed the game on federal regulations.
In a 6–3 decision, the court found that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan was unconstitutional because Congress had not given the EPA the authority to make such sweeping, costly shifts to the power generation mix on the U.S. grid. That argument rested in part on the expected economic impact of the plan.
“If those regulations in the Clean Power Plan were unconstitutional, then that quite literally means that most federal regulations—I don’t use that colloquially, I mean that literally—a majority, quite likely an overwhelming majority, of current federal regulations are unconstitutional under current law in the United States of America,” Mr. Ramaswamy said.
He vowed to begin rescinding those regulations “immediately” upon taking office.
Mr. Ramaswamy sketched how he would shut down the FBI, the DOE, the NRC, and the ATF, explaining that some functions would be shifted to other agencies while others would be eliminated entirely. In the case of the FBI, for example, he said some positions would be moved to the U.S. Marshals and some other agencies.
The would-be president, who has positioned himself as an heir to the legacy of President Trump through an “America First 2.0” platform, told the crowd that his vision was “fundamentally American.”
“America was founded on radical ideals,” Mr. Ramaswamy said.