Shutdown Thwarted Public Input on Agency Rules

magic pictures/Shutterstock.com

Lawmakers, citing public health and environmental impact, want OMB to extend the rulemaking comment period.

As part of what is likely a series of maneuvers to examine the impact of the recent 35-day partial government shutdown, eight House Democrats have asked White House budget director and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to reopen some expired comment periods for agency rulemaking.

“The longest-ever shutdown of the federal government significantly harmed the right of the American people to meet with federal agencies and comment on proposed actions,” read the Feb. 15 letter by major committee chairmen and organized by the Energy and Commerce panel.  “Public participation is a hallmark of good governance and a core tenet of administrative law.”

The lawmakers also urged Mulvaney to direct agencies to “immediately reschedule all canceled public hearings and meetings,” citing examples of damage from the shutdown including complaints from citizens in East Chicago, Ind., that the Environmental Protection Agency canceled a public hearing scheduled to discuss remediation of a Superfund site that had earlier forced more than 1,000 residents to move due to contamination. The comment period was cut off on Jan. 14, they noted.

The lawmakers also mentioned the cutoff of comments on the Interior Department’s controversial proposed rule to streamline its process for handling Freedom of Information Act requests.

“Both Reguations.gov and FederalRegister.gov had banners during the shutdown suggesting the sites were not fully operational, and, at one point, Regulations.gov was completely inaccessible,” the letter said. Furloughed staff were unavailable during the appropriations lapse to answer questions, they noted.

The temporarily darkened websites were flagged at the time by the liberal-leaning Public Citizen, which sent out a release on Jan. 17 saying, “The status of Regulations.gov appears to be in flux. Earlier this morning, the site would not load at all. Then a message appeared indicating the site would be offline due to a lapse in funding. The latest message claims that the site will be restored, but provides no time frame for restoration of service.” In a broader comment, Public Citizen Regulatory Policy Associate Matthew Kent said the blackout “represents a complete breakdown of the regulatory process due to President Donald Trump’s shutdown.”

The lawmakers ask that Mulvaney direct agencies to extend the comment periods for 35 days, including those that were subsequently closed, 35 days being the length of the shutdown.

OMB did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday from Government Executive.

Public Citizen’s regulatory policy advocate Amit Narang on Wednesday said, “Agreeing to this request by multiple House committee chairs will show the Trump Administration both takes the public comment process seriously and recognizes that the government shutdown prevented the public from participating in significant ways.”

The letter was signed by Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J.; Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.; Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.; Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas; Eliot Engel, D-N.Y; Richard Neal, D-Mass.; and Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.