Biden Tells Federal Agencies They Don't Need To Be Transparent Anymore

Twenty-one Republican senators want President Biden to reconsider revoking Trump’s Executive Order telling federal agencies to publish guidance on how they interpret and apply regulations.

On his first day in the Oval Office, Biden revoked former President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13891 that required creation of a public database of agency guidance documents, based on a bill in Congress with bipartisan support, the Guidance Out of Darkness Act (GOOD).

“Without explanation, you described this executive order as one of the ‘harmful policies and directives that threaten to frustrate the federal government’s ability to confront [the (COVID19) pandemic, economic recovery, racial justice, and climate change],’ and you claimed — again without explanation — that its revocation was necessary to provide federal agencies the ‘flexibility to use robust regulatory action to address national priorities,’” the senators told Biden in a Feb. 8 letter.

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, initiated the letter, which was also signed by senators James Lankford of Oklahoma, Rob Portman of Ohio, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Joni Ernst of Iowa, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, James Risch of Idaho, Mike Lee of Utah, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rick Scott of Florida, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.

The signers noted that the GOOD proposal was approved once by the House and twice by the Senate Homeland Security Committee in previous Congresses in which Johnson was chairman of that panel. Trump issued his executive order when it became clear a legislative logjam would keep the GOOD proposal from reaching his desk.

The signers also noted that among the supporters of the GOOD proposal when it was before the Homeland Security panel was then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Biden’s Vice-President.


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