Committee to Examine Agency Policy Issuances

Republican leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have written to three dozen departments and agencies asking for the policy guidance documents they have issued in the last 10 years.

Similar letters cited a 2015 GAO report stating that statements of policy, interpretive rules, and other guidance regarding how the agency plans to interpret laws and legislative rules can have impacts similar to those imposed by regulations, even though a formal rule-making process is not followed. It also found that use of such guidance varied widely, ranging from as few as ten at some agencies to more than one hundred guidance documents each year at others.

“The reason for this discrepancy is unclear. It is also unclear whether there are uniform practices or strategies throughout the executive branch for developing and issuing guidance documents,” the letter says.

Along with copies of such guidance since the start of 2008, the letter asks agencies to describe whether they consider each significant, whether it was submitted to OMB, Congress or GAO, and whether it has been or is to be reviewed by the Regulatory Reform Task Force, and the outcome of any review already performed.