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Status of OMB Policies

In an unusual move, the Trump Administration is separating OMB publications into two groups on the whitehouse.gov website: those from “Prior administrations” and those that are “Recent.” Thus, the White House is pointing to the obamawhitehouse.archives.gov copies of all OMB Bulletins, Circulars, and Memoranda issued prior to January 20 instead of maintaining these as part of the current whitehouse.gov website.

One Circular of particular interest to government information specialists is Circular A-130, “Managing Federal Information as a Strategic Resource.” The new whitehouse.gov website points to a copy of the A-130 Circular in the obamawhitehouse.archives.gov archive and labels it a regulation of a “Prior administration.”

According to OMB Circular No. A-1 (which was written in 1948 and revised in 1952 and is now only available from the Obama White House archive):

Circulars and Bulletins which are employed to communicate various instructions and information to the executive departments and establishments. The Circular series is used when the nature of the subject matter is of continuing effect. The Bulletin series is used when the subject matter requires single or one-time action by the departments or establishments or is of a transitory nature…. The provisions of any Circular or Bulletin, except as otherwise specifically provided in any given Circular or Bulletin, shall be observed by every such department or establishment insofar as the subject matter pertains to the affairs of such department or establishment.

It is not clear if this separation of policy documents into current and archived copies is intended to convey a change in the effective status and implementation OMB policies under the Trump administration.

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