Repost from RegBlog. When Politicians Are Not Experts, Agencies Step In
by Brandi Lupo. Original source: www.regblog.org
Official articulations of executive agency positions require preclearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the White House. Written official statements on pending bills, draft bills that an agency wishes to present to Congress, and other legislative activities all require preclearance. At the same time, White House preclearance is not required for legislative language that agencies offer to congressional committees as a “drafting service” provided that the agency makes clear that the administration or agency is not bound to the position espoused in the drafted language.
But drawing the line between “drafting service” and other legislative efforts requiring preclearance is not always clear. Agencies perennially struggle with how to provide assistance requested without circumventing the OMB’s preclearance requirements. In his interviews, Walker found that most agency staff believe that “what congressional staffers really want is to know the agency’s substantive position on the proposed legislation.” Drawing the line between informal assistance and a formal position statement on a draft bill can put agencies in a difficult position.