Federal Manager's Daily Report

Pressure from Congress and outside groups to make federal agencies more responsive to queries from members of Congress has produced a change in a Trump administration policy that essentially restricted responses only to those coming from committee chairmen.

One of the most vocal opponents of the policy, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, received assurances in a recent letter from the White House that “the administration’s policy is to respect the rights of all individual Members, regardless of party affiliation, to request information about Executive Branch policies and programs. The administration will use its best efforts to be as timely and responsive as possible in answering such requests.”

That White House Office of Legal Counsel had issued the initial policy decision, which resulted in complaints from members of Congress—mostly, but not exclusively Democrats—that they were not getting replies to even routine requests, and in Grassley preventing confirmation of the nominee to head that office.

“I’m glad to see that the administration has decided that timely and responsive answers to Congressional oversight inquiries is the best way forward,” Grassley said in a statement. “I’d still like to see the OLC opinion rescinded, but this is a very good start.”