October 9, 2019 / 9:55 PM / 11 days ago

Trump orders agencies to require public input in key 'guidance documents'

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S. October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday requiring federal agencies to go through a similar process of public input and explanation when they issue key “guidance documents” and pledged White House scrutiny.

Trump said his orders require agencies to seek public input on “the most important guidance and the whole process will be closely overseen by the White House.”

Trump’s orders say the public can ask agencies to withdraw guidance they believe is wrong. The White House said agencies must give the public “fair notice of any complaint against them and a chance to respond.”

Agencies must offer opinion letters to individuals and businesses who request them in order to help people comply with the law, Trump said, in a “tireless fight to curtail job-killing, soul-crushing regulations.”

Opponents say Trump has failed to properly regulate environmental, safety and other issues.

Guidance documents can be issued far faster than regulations, which typically take years from start to finish. The White House says because such documents can have a practical effect similar to regulations, they should be subject to the same cost-benefit analysis and public input as formal rules.

Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought said the executive orders will discourage “off-the-book regulations and prevent unfair penalties from being levied on American families and businesses by rogue agencies.”

Trump has made eliminating regulations a priority.

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Matthew Lewis

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