July 9, 2021
Competition Executive Order Further Blurs Independence of Agencies
The Biden Administration’s latest executive order (EO) is the broadest and most-specific example in recent history of a president seeking certain policy outcomes from independent agencies. It directs agencies across the federal government, including independent agencies, to address perceived competitive abuses across the economy. The breadth and specificity of this EO represents a further erosion of the autonomy of these agencies, writes AAF’s Director of Regulatory Policy Dan Bosch. As presidents continue to blur the autonomy of these agencies, the likelihood of harmful economic uncertainty increases, Bosch argues.
The Biden Administration’s latest EO treads new territory in the breadth and specificity of what it requests of independent agencies. The EO further blurs the independence of those agencies from the president by seeking specific policy outcomes on a host of competition issues. While there are good arguments for some increased presidential control over independent agencies, further erosion of their policy independence will lead to increased economic uncertainly that will be harmful. Since presidents have no incentive to cease this erosion, it is up to an increasingly marginalized Congress to take steps to clearly delineate the standing of independent agencies.