Congressional Control of Agency Expertise

Note — Volume 105, Issue 1

105 Va. L. Rev. 173
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Congress relies on executive branch information to carry out its functions. When it creates a budget, the President’s budget request and individual agency testimony are critical to understanding the effect of proposed changes. When it considers new legislation, government officials are asked to testify and share their views. When Congress is seeking information on emerging issues, agency reports are often the first—and most trusted—source of information. When the executive branch provides this information, it often does so through a coordinated process, managed by the Office of Management and Budget within the Executive Office of the President. As a result, the President has a say in what Congress hears regarding agency expertise. This Note explores the instances where Congress has explicitly shut the President out of this process, and the consequences of that decision. The provisions of federal law that limit presidential control of information, referred to as “independent-reporting requirements,” are one of the many ways that Congress can ensure agency independence. This Note collects and describes these provisions, exploring both their policy implications and their constitutionality. In addition, this Note argues that a more widespread use of these statutory tools would solve a significant problem currently facing Congress, namely the information imbalance between the elected branches.

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  Volume 105 / Issue 1  

The Government-Could-Not-Work Doctrine

By Nikolas Bowie
105 Va. L. Rev. 1

Abstention at the Border

By Maggie Gardner
105 Va. L. Rev. 63

Automated Vehicles and Manufacturer Responsibility for Accidents: A New Legal Regime for a New Era

By Kenneth S. Abraham & Robert L. Rabin
105 Va. L. Rev. 127

Congressional Control of Agency Expertise

By Daniel Richardson
105 Va. L. Rev. 173