Trump Orders Agencies To Review Advisory Panels, Terminate One-Third

President Trump last Friday signed an executive order requiring that each federal agency evaluate the need for each of its current advisory committees established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and those advisory committees that are authorized by law but not required by statute.

Under the executive order, each agency will have to, by Sept. 30, 2019, terminate at least one-third of its current committees established under the FACA, including committees for which the: stated objectives of the committee have been accomplished; subject matter or work of the committee has become obsolete; primary functions have been assumed by another entity; or agency determines that the cost of operation is excessive in relation to the benefits to the federal government.

The government-wide combined total number of eligible committees cannot exceed 350, under the executive order.

According to a 2016 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, the number of active FACA committees has hovers around 1,000 committees in any given fiscal year. Around 70,000 serve as members of FACA committees and subcommittees in any given year. Costs to operate federal advisory committees have varied over time and ranged from a low of $334.7 million in fiscal 2014 to a high of $451.3 million in 2006.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) operates the greatest number of federal advisory committees, with 248 active committees in fiscal year 2015, the CRS report noted.

Within HHS, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) previously had a Food Advisory Committee, but it was terminated in December of 2017. At its last meeting, the Food Advisory Committee discussed FDA’s policies related to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in foods.

FDA also has a Science Board, which provides advice to the commissioner and other appropriate officials on specific complex scientific and technical issues important to FDA and its mission.

The USDA had the second greatest number of active committees in fiscal 2015, with 163, the CRS noted.

For example, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) works with four FACAs, including the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which

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