On His Way Out the Door Trump Signs an Executive Order Aimed at Beltway Bureaucrats

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Posted: Jan 18, 2021 7:25 PM
On His Way Out the Door Trump Signs an Executive Order Aimed at Beltway Bureaucrats

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order to ensure "democratic accountability" in the nation's law-making processes moving forward. Specifically, he referenced bureaucrats who are placed in unelected positions yet choose to act at their own discretion.

"American democracy operates on the principle of the consent of the governed.  Regular elections for the Congress and the President and Vice President of the United States are designed to ensure that the officials responsible for making and executing the law are held accountable to the American people," the executive order stated. "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."

"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," the executive order stated. "This practice undermines the power of the American people to choose who governs them and I am directing steps to end it."

Under the EO, a "senior appointee" that was handpicked by the president must sign off on an agency's regulatory agenda. The only exemption would be for matters of national security.

The head of each agency will be tasked with evaluating their rules. A report must be submitted to the president within 180 days after the executive order is made official. Within the first 90 days the agency head must review "significant rules" that have changed over the last 12 years. The head is to determine whether or not a senior appointee signed off on the rule. Within 120 days, each agency must brief the president on their findings.