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Trump’s Power Grab Over Independent Agencies Puts the Fed, FEC, CFPB Under Political Control

Statement of Amit Narang, Regulatory Policy Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: On Thursday, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memo that requires agencies, including independent agencies, to submit their regulatory actions to OMB to determine agency compliance with the Congressional Review Act. This would make regulations from the historically independent agencies subject to OMB regulatory review for the first time.

This memo is another radical power grab by Trump that flies in the face of the rule of law and is a slap in the face to Congress. The memo fundamentally undermines the independence of agencies that Congress made independent from the White House for good reason.

Is it really a good idea to put the Federal Election Commission under Trump’s thumb, give him more power over the Federal Reserve or put the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau back under OMB Director Mick Mulvaney’s control? Clearly this memo is designed to seize power from independent agencies for the political benefit of the president.

Even in the wake of obvious deregulatory failures, such as the recent tragic airplane crashes that showed just how weak and captured our country’s safety regulators are, it is telling that this administration is more interested in ramming through a corporate deregulatory agenda than ensuring that agencies are protecting the public.

Congress must pursue vigorous oversight of OMB’s implementation of this policy and must pass legislation to reassert the independence the agencies threatened by this power grab.