Committee Report Scrutinizes Federal Regulatory Guidance Practices

Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Published: Mar 15, 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Republicans released a staff report detailing findings from the Committee’s oversight of federal agencies’ regulatory guidance documents. The report compiles information received from dozens of agencies and shows both best practices and problem areas with regulatory guidance practices.
Full text of the report can be found here.
Background:
  • Regulatory guidance is an agency’s statement of policy or interpretation of a statute or regulation. These documents can have a significant effect on the public and can alter the behavior of regulated parties.
  • On December 8, 2017 and January 11, 2018, the Committee requested information from 46 federal agencies on their use of guidance documents over the past 10 years. Agency responses revealed significant problems with regulatory guidance practices as well as failure to comply with the Congressional Review Act and applicable regulatory procedures.
Report Findings:
  • Agencies generally do not keep a complete inventory of guidance documents.
  • Some agencies are failing to comply with the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) policies and do not understand the definition of guidance.
  • Agencies are not compliant with the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
Report Recommendations:
  • All agencies should comply with the CRA by submitting their covered guidance documents to Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
  • All agencies should make their guidance documents available in an online repository or library maintained on the agency websites.
  • Congress should consider legislation to codify existing requirements in executive directives to improve Congressional oversight of agency regulatory activity.