OMB has reminded agencies of its process for reviewing certain documents and materials before they are released outside the executive branch, including budget materials, legislation, testimony and program operating plans.
Memo M-19-12 comes at a time when the new Democratic control of the House has resulted in an increase in requests for information on a variety of topics, requests that are projected to further increase as oversight and investigative activities ramp up—and also just ahead of the annual White House budget submission that also results in numerous hearings and inquiries.
The memo calls special attention to Circular A-11, which requires OMB approval of budget-related information including budget justification documents sent to Congress, testimony and other responses to inquiries, material for congressional briefings and many other communications; and Circular A-19, which requires OMB approval of draft legislation from the administration and of agency position statements on legislation introduced by others.
“Following these clearance processes is absolutely critical to ensuring that agency actions are consistent with the President’s policies and programs. Please do everything possible to make sure that your internal agency processes take proper account of these review expectations and deadlines for submission of various materials requiring clearance,” the memo says, adding that those two circulars are “not an exhaustive list of authorities or existing practices” requiring OMB review.
Further, agencies “should be working with White House cabinet affairs, communications, and legislative affairs when developing and executing media and legislative strategy, especially when preparing to announce matters that have undergone White House review via 0MB. This coordination should also occur as far in advance of the anticipated media event or rollout as feasible,” it says.