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Luetkemeyer Reintroduces Legislation to Clarify Burdensome Regulatory Guidance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) reintroduced the Guidance Clarity Act which requires Federal agencies to include text in guidance documents clarifying that the document is not legally binding. This enables Congress to ensure that the regulatory system operates with the transparency small businesses and entrepreneurs need to continue growing.

“Most small businesses do not have access to teams of lawyers to navigate the regulatory maze and clarify what is a law, what is a rule, and what is simply guidance” said Luetkemeyer. “I am introducing the Guidance Clarity Act to force regulators to provide a plain language statement on the front page of guidance documents stating that it is not law nor will it be enforced as a law.”

Background: Guidance documents are intended to clarify an agency’s policy or interpretation of a regulation but do not carry the weight of finalized rule or law. The official rulemaking process includes numerous steps that must be taken before final enactment. These steps can include public notice and comment, submission to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, and additional provisions to ensure the input of all stakeholders is included in the formation of a rule. Guidance documents skip over many of these checks and balances and can be published without review or comment.

In October, the Trump Administration shed further light on this problem by issuing an executive order to improve the transparency of guidance documents. If enacted the Guidance Clarity Act would cement the clarity sought by the executive order into law.