President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 18 prohibiting career bureaucrats—rather than presidential appointees—from authorizing and having the final word on new federal regulations.
“The President chooses Federal agency heads who exercise executive authority and implement his regulatory agenda. The American people, in electing the President, thereby have a role in choosing the individuals who govern them,” the president’s order states.
“However, some agencies have chosen to blur these lines of democratic accountability by allowing career officials to authorize, approve, and serve as the final word on regulations. This practice transfers the power to set rules governing Americans’ daily lives from the President, acting through his executive subordinates, to officials insulated from the accountability that national elections bring. This practice undermines the power of the American people to choose who governs them and I am directing steps to end it.”
The order directs that new federal agency rules must be initiated and signed by senior appointees, who will have the sole discretion to approve the agency’s regulatory agenda.