This is to
call to your attention the Executive branch's formal legislative
coordination and clearance process. I would appreciate your bringing
this memorandum and the attachment to the attention of incoming
policy officers of the new Administration in your agency.
to the requirements of the clearance process will serve the needs
of the President by assuring that agency legislative proposals
and recommendations, as well as testimony, are consistent with
his policies and programs. We request that agency legislative
proposals and reports and testimony on pending legislation be
submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as far
in advance as feasible. This will allow sufficient time for their
review and coordination with other agencies prior to their being
cleared by OMB. Circular A-19 asks agencies to make every effort
to give OMB a minimum of five full working days for clearance
of proposed reports or testimony. For its part, OMB will endeavor
to ensure that all testimony is cleared within three working days
of its submission for clearance.
No. A-19 presents in detail the requirements and procedures for
legislative coordination and clearance by OMB. The attached paper
summarizes the major elements and the essential purposes of the
We will be
working with you to ensure the timely transmittal to Congress
of legislative proposals necessary to support the President's
economic policy and the 2002 Budget. As decisions are made on
these matters, we will be in touch about details related to the
drafting, review, and clearance of the proposals.
for your cooperation.
LEGISLATIVE CLEARANCE FUNCTION
briefly describes the major elements of the legislative clearance
function which the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), working
with other elements of the Executive Office of the President (EOP)
and with the agencies, carries out on behalf of the President.
The function is designed to serve the needs of the President in
carrying out his legislative responsibilities.
legislative responsibilities are founded in his constitutional
duties and powers to: (1) require the opinion in writing
of the principal officer in each of the Executive departments;
(2) take care that the laws are faithfully executed; (3) give
the Congress information on the State of the Union; (4) recommend
to the Congress such measures as he judges necessary; (5) approve
or disapprove bills passed by the Congress; and (6) convene
either or both Houses of Congress.
No. A-19 sets forth the basic guidelines and procedures for carrying
out the function. These procedures have been substantially the
same for over 60 years.
recommendations of the President in his three regular annual messages
-- State of the Union, Budget, and the Economic Report -- together
with those in any special messages or other communications to
the Congress generally constitute the President's legislative
program. These recommendations often originate in the agencies,
the Congress, and commissions, panels, and task forces established
by law or by administrative order.
Elements of Clearance Process
-- The clearance function:
the coordinated development, review, and approval of legislative
proposals needed to carry out the President's legislative program.
the agencies develop draft bills that are consistent with and
that carry out the President's policy objectives.
for Congress those bills that are part of the President's program
and the relationship of other bills to that program.
that Congress receives coordinated and informative agency views
on legislation which it has under consideration.
that bills and position statements submitted to Congress by
one agency properly take into account the interests and concerns
of all affected agencies.
a means whereby divergent agency views can be reconciled.
function covers agency legislative proposals, agency reports and
testimony on pending legislation, Statements of Administration
Policy, and enrolled bills.
Proposals -- All bills that Executive agencies wish to
transmit to the Congress are sent to OMB for clearance. OMB circulates
the bills to other affected agencies and appropriate EOP staff.
reviewing a draft bill may favor it or have no objection. One
or more may propose substantive or technical amendments, or perhaps
a complete substitute. Divergent views can be reconciled by telephone,
letter, or interagency meetings called by OMB.
analysis, resolution of issues, and obtaining appropriate policy
guidance, OMB advises the proposing agency that (1) there
is "no objection" from the standpoint of the Administration's
program to the submission of the proposed draft bill to the Congress,
or (2) the proposed bill is "in accord with the President's
program," if it implements a Presidential proposal. This "advice"
is conveyed by the submitting agency to the Congress in its transmittal
letter. (Major legislation is sometimes transmitted by the President.)
On the other
hand, if the agency is advised that its proposed bill conflicts
with an important Administration objective, or is not in accord
with the President's program, it may not transmit the bill to
the Congress. In practically all instances, however, disagreements
are resolved through discussions at the policy levels of OMB and
of Agency Testimony and Reports on Pending Legislation
-- If agencies are asked by congressional committees to report
or testify on pending legislation or wish to volunteer a report,
similar clearance procedures are followed.
of Administration Policy (SAPs) -- OMB prepares SAPs for
major bills scheduled for House or Senate floor action in the
coming week, including those to be considered by the House Rules
Committee. In addition, SAPs are sometimes prepared for so-called
"non-controversial" bills considered in the House under suspension
of the rules. SAPs are prepared in coordination with other parts
of OMB, the agency or agencies principally concerned, and other
EOP units. Following its clearance, a SAP is sent to Congress
by OMB's Legislative Affairs Office.
Bills -- After Congress has completed action on a bill,
it is "enrolled," i.e., sent to the President for his approval
or disapproval. The Constitution provides that the President shall
take action within 10 days after receipt of the bill, not including
the President in deciding his course of action on a bill, OMB
requests each interested agency to submit within 48 hours its
analysis and recommendation in a letter to OMB. Such views letters
are signed by the head of the agency or other Presidential appointee.
OMB prepares a memorandum to the President on the enrolled bill
which transmits these views letters and summarizes the bill, significant
issues, and various agency and OMB recommendations. If an agency
recommends disapproval or a signing statement, it is responsible
for preparing a draft of an appropriate statement for the President's
of Activity -- During the 106th Congress, 9,158 bills
and joint resolutions were introduced in the two Houses. The agencies
submitted to OMB for clearance over 3,500 proposed reports and
testimony on bills and 515 draft bills. The 106th Congress enacted
604 public and private laws.