The Trump Administration’s two executive orders announced late yesterday, the Improved Agency Guidance Documents Executive Order and the Transparency and Fairness Executive Order, will bring accountability to the vast federal bureaucracy and allow for American taxpayers to better understand and challenge guidelines put out by government agencies. Americans everywhere stand to benefit from these reforms, which will ensure that unaccountable bureaucrats can’t exercise outsized control over businesses and taxpayers.
The Trump Administration is shining a light on the murky world of agency “guidance,” which consists not of formal rulemaking but still results in government action being taken against individuals and businesses without notice. Now, agencies will be required to give citizens and taxpayers notice and a comment opportunity if they will be affected by new guidance, and be required to offer opinions upon request on how best to comply with guidance. In addition, affected individuals and businesses will be able to request a written justification before an agency takes certain enforcement actions “of legal consequence” against them. Petition processes whereby citizens may request modification or withdrawal of guidance would also be established.
These executive orders not only help to strengthen accountability and transparency for regulations, they will encourage more thoughtful deliberation of rulemaking to take into consideration the real-world consequences for taxpayers, consumers, and businesses. These executive orders are a big step toward responsibility and transparency for what has been one of the most unaccountable and opaque parts of federal policymaking.