House Committee Leaders Request Extension of Public Comment Periods Affected by the Government Shutdown

Feb 15, 2019
Press Release

Eight House Committee leaders sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney today requesting an immediate extension of public comment periods, hearings and meetings that were affected by the government shutdown earlier this year.

The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Science, Space, and Technology Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA).

“We write to urge that you direct federal agencies to immediately reschedule all canceled public hearings and meetings, reopen comment periods that closed during the shutdown and extend comment periods that were open during the shutdown,” the Committee leaders wrote to Director Mulvaney.  “The longest-ever shutdown of the federal government significantly harmed the right of the American people to meet with federal agencies and comment on proposed actions.  Public participation is a hallmark of good governance and a core tenet of administrative law.” 

In their letter, the Committee Chairs cite the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) cancelation of a public hearing to discuss remediation of a Superfund site in East Chicago, Indiana that forced more than 1,000 residents to move due to contamination as an example of the shutdown’s impact on communities throughout the country.

The Democrats continued, “We also would request that you direct these agencies to reopen public comment periods that closed during the shutdown for a period of at least 35 days and extend by at least 35 days the public comment periods that were open during the shutdown, including comment periods which have subsequently closed and those that are still open.  This is commensurate with the length of the shutdown and would best facilitate public participation.”

The letter is available HERE.   

116th Congress