THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
As provided by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended (Public Law 92-463; 5 U.S.C., App. 2, 6(c)), I am submitting the Twenty-Fifth Annual Report on Federal Advisory Committees, covering fiscal year 1996.
The executive branch continues to implement my policy of maintaining the number of advisory committees within the ceiling of 534 required by Executive Order 12838 of February 10, 1993. As a result, the number of discretionary advisory committees (established under general congressional authorizations) was held to 501, or 37 percent fewer than those 801 committees in existence at the beginning of my Administration. Savings achieved through the elimination of discretionary committees during fiscal year 1996 totalled $2.5 million.
Through the advisory committee planning process required by Executive Order 12838, departments and agencies have worked to minimize the total number of advisory committees specifically mandated by statute. The 407 such groups supported at the end of fiscal year 1996 represents a modest 7 percent decrease over the 439 in existence at the beginning of my Administration. However, more can be done to assure that the total costs to fund these groups in fiscal year 1997, or $38.5 million, are dedicated to support high-priority public involvement efforts.
During fiscal year 1996, the General Services Administration (GSA) initiated a process for collaborating with executive departments and agencies to increase public participation opportunities at all levels of American society. Building upon my Administration's commitment to expand access to Federal decisionmakers, managers at all levels will be provided with more timely guidance that includes enhanced options for achieving objectives, better training, and exposure to a variety of tools and techniques, which when used in conjunction with advisory committees, offer additional flexibility to address a wide variety of public participation needs.
Actions to broaden the scope and effectiveness of public participation within the Federal sector will continue during fiscal year 1997. During the year, GSA will develop newly updated guidance implementing FACA. At the same time, GSA will continue to support and work closely with such agencies as the Council on Environmental Quality and the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to align its efforts with key Administration policies relating to ecosystem and land management priorities.
My Administration will continue to work with the Congress to assure that all advisory committees that are required by statute are regularly reviewed through the congressional reauthorization process and that remaining committees are instrumental in achieving national interests.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE,
September 17, 1997.
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