WASHINGTON — Stepping up the Clinton Administration's campaign to save the Commerce Department, Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown suggested Wednesday that it would make more sense to expand the agency than kill it.
Testifying before a House subcommittee, Brown said abolishing the department and moving its surviving components elsewhere would cost taxpayers money.
Challenging critics who say his agency is a bloated bureaucracy, Brown said it would promote efficiency to move other government offices that are engaged in trade promotion and place them in the Commerce Department.
"I thought consolidation was a goal of the Republican Congress," Brown said in one barbed exchange with Rep. William Clinger Jr. (R-Pa.), chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
Clinger conceded that saving money is not the main goal of proposals to dismantle the department. Making "things work better" is the aim, he said.