Washington Update

FASEB’s Comments on FACA Proposed Rule Emphasizes Public Transparency and DEAI

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, December 20, 2023
On December 14, FASEB submitted comments in response to the General Services Administration’s (GSA) proposed rule concerning Federal Advisory Committee Management. Per the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), GSA is responsible for prescribing guidelines to facilitate the performance of advisory committees, entities that provide advice on a broad range of issues affecting federal policies. The proposed revisions seek to align regulations with broader administrative and legislative updates while ensuring they are more user-friendly. 

FASEB’s comments focus on proposed changes to advisory committee membership and management, charter amendments, and public engagement. For example, GSA suggests strengthening language on how agencies can attain balanced advisory committee membership. FASEB concurs with this change and emphasizes that the composition of advisory committees should be representative of the diversity seen in the broader community, including historically excluded groups, individuals with disabilities, and stakeholders with limited resources.

Additionally, GSA proposes changing the charter amendment approval process. Previously two separate processes for major versus minor amendments, FASEB supports GSA’s offer to consolidate into a single process to significantly reduce administrative burden. More important, FASEB commends the agency’s proposal to require agencies to post an announcement and copy of approved amendments to the Federal Register or committee website. As the cornerstone of FACA, using multiple strategies to reach stakeholders will not only strengthen public transparency and engagement but also enhance the performance of advisory committees.