Trump Executive Order Targets Federal Advisory Committees

July 2019

In June, President Donald Trump issued an executive order for agencies to evaluate the need for their federal advisory committees and cut a third of those committees not required by law by September 30. The executive order also prohibits agencies from establishing new advisory committees if the total number of committees across the federal government exceeds 350.

Federal advisory committees provide public input to agencies and the White House on their work.  Scientific agencies like the National Science Foundation benefit from this guidance in steering agency priorities.

Agencies are able to request a waiver to eliminate an advisory committee through the director of the Office of Management and Budget. OMB would then determine whether the committee is “necessary for the delivery of essential services, for effective program delivery, or because it is otherwise warranted by the public interest.”

Along with the reductions of federal advisory committees not in statute, agencies will be required to submit to OMB recommendations to continue or terminate advisory committees established by the president and by statute. Recommendations for committees established in statute would need to be accompanied by a plan and any legislative language for Congress.

Merit review panels that make decisions to fund research are exempt from the order.

AERA has been monitoring these developments and any potential impacts on committees that are involved in education research.