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Statement of Administration Policy

Definition: Issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Statements of Administration Policy (SAP) are official, written communications outlining the Executive Branch’s position on a particular legislative action. SAPs often include an intended course of action if legislation were to pass or a request that a piece of legislation receive debate or a vote.

History: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is tasked with the responsibility of drafting the President’s budget. OMB is also responsible for evaluating federal agency practice and procedures to ensure that they are complying with current law and the President’s policies. In line with these prerogatives, the administration closely follows legislation as it is debated in Congress. The Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) collaborates with Congress to express the administration’s legislative aims and any problems or disagreements they have with particular pieces of legislation, including possible implementation issues in the future. A Statement of Administration Policy can be used as a tool in the process of negotiation, as it may express disagreements with legislation or threaten a veto to the entire bill. A more controversial alternative are called signing statements. These are comments that Presidents issue as bills are being signed into law, and have been used in the past to express the President’s disapproval with a bill he feels must be signed, despite his disagreement with a portion(s) of the text.