Washington Update

GSA Issues Final Rule on FACA Committee Management

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
On April 18, the General Services Administration (GSA) issued a final rule to update the regulations concerning Federal Advisory Committee Management. Established in 1972 and administered by GSA, the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) formalized the process for creating and managing federal advisory committees. These committees provide objective, accessible information to the public on a range of federal activities, including biomedical research.

Overall, the final changes are similar to what GSA offered in the proposed rule, which aims to align the regulations with recent policy and legislative requirements while ensuring that transparency diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion are prioritized throughout advisory committee processes and procedures. For example, the final rule includes updated language to the FACA community on how to attain fairly balanced committee membership to ensure insight from stakeholders of all backgrounds informs committee work. Other changes are intended to improve user readability and reduce confusion such as removing redundant language and improving public access to FACA committee documentation. 

FASEB’s comments on the proposed rule were supportive of the proposed changes and acknowledged in the final rule. For example, FASEB commended the proposed change that directs committees to improve outreach efforts to diverse communities. To further strengthen equity and public accountability, FASEB requested specific attention be given to the needs of stakeholders with limited resources who may be unfamiliar with the policymaking process. In response, GSA stated that while the rule provides high-level strategies to achieve this, specific “how to” plans are at the discretion of the downstream agency.