The Congressional Review Act Revisited

From: Notice & Comment | A Blog from the Yale Journal on Regulation and the ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice

by Jeff Rosen

This month the House of Representatives passed two resolutions under the Congressional Review Act (5 USC 801, et seq .) that disapproved of EPA’s recent rules for greenhouse gases from new and existing power plants. S.J. Resolutions 23 and 24. These two resolutions had already passed the Senate on November 17, 2015. The vote in the Senate was 52-46, and in the House was 235-188. These resolutions of disapproval will next go to the President, who has previously threatened to veto them. They are only the third and fourth times that both houses of Congress have ever sent a resolution of disapproval of agency rules to the President.

ACUS, the DQA and Federal Information Dissemination in the Internet Era

Inaccurate and misleading data being disseminated in federal databases threatens public health and fiscal integrity. CMS’s National Provider Identifier database and GSA’s Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation are only two examples of federal databases that are disseminating data that don’t meet federal data quality requirements. The Data Quality Act provides a process for correcting data in federal databases. For an example of using the DQA to address technical problems with CMS’s star quality rating systems, see CRE’s letter to CMS here. Also see CMS’s detailed response to CRE’s letter here.

Regulators’ Math

From: Health Affairs

Valuing Life: Humanizing The Regulatory State By Cass R. Sunstein Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press, 2014 240 pp., $25.00

Gail R. Wilensky1

In the well-written book Valuing Life, Cass Sunstein, currently the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University, explains the workings of a relatively small and obscure but key agency in the Office of Management and Budget called the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Sunstein’s insights into the workings of OIRA and the many conceptual and empirical challenges the office faces come from his experience as the administrator of OIRA from 2009 to 2012. While most people—including most of my colleagues in the health policy community—have probably never heard of OIRA, I have been very aware of its activities and responsibilities since my time running Medicare and Medicaid as the administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA, now called the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), given the HCFA’s role as a regulatory agency.

Midnight Rules: A Comparison of Regulatory Output Across Administrations

From: Regulatory Studies Center | George Washington University

by Daniel R. Pérez, Policy Analyst

As Presidential administrations begin to wind down during their “lame duck” period, the executive’s decrease in political influence in congress has historically been accompanied by a significant increase in the amount of regulations published by executive regulatory agencies, particularly during the final three months between Election Day and Inauguration Day. This flurry of last-minute regulatory activity, identified as early as the Carter administration’s transition to Reagan, is known as the Midnight period. Midnight rules are so named because they are the result of an executive fully exercising its power to influence policy through regulation in a rush to beat the “stroke of Midnight” on inauguration day, which removes its political power—like Cinderella’s magic running out as she leaves the ball.

Panel urges overhaul of government to ease regulatory environment in Md.

Editor’s Note: From time to time CRE examines the role of centralized regulatory review in state governments. 

From: The Washington Post

A commission examining ways to improve Maryland’s regulatory environment called Tuesday for the largest restructuring of the state’s government since former Gov. Marvin Mandel overhauled the executive branch 45 years ago.

The recommendation was part of the first report from a ­regulatory-review panel Gov. Larry Hogan (R) appointed this year to help make the state more business-friendly.

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Repost from RegBlog. When Politicians Are Not Experts, Agencies Step In

From: L’Osservatorio sull’Analisi di Impatto della Regolazione (Osservatorio AIR)

by Brandi Lupo. Original source: www.regblog.org

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Official articulations of executive agency positions require preclearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the White House. Written official statements on pending bills, draft bills that an agency wishes to present to Congress, and other legislative activities all require preclearance. At the same time, White House preclearance is not required for legislative language that agencies offer to congressional committees as a “drafting service” provided that the agency makes clear that the administration or agency is not bound to the position espoused in the drafted language.

Senator Lieberman Addresses Syms

From: The Commentator

Author: Adam Kramer

The Syms School of Business community was fortunate to hear from Senator Joseph Lieberman on Tuesday November 17th, where the former Senator from Connecticut and current occupant of the Lieberman Chair of Public Policy and Public Service at Yeshiva University spoke on the topic of “Why American Business Needs a Strong Federal Government, But Not Too Strong.”

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Identifying Regulations Affecting International Trade and Investment: Better Classification Could Improve Regulatory Cooperation

From: Regulatory Studies Center | George Washington University

Daniel Pérez, Policy Analyst

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However, as identified by OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), any efforts that “increase regulatory transparency and provide early warnings” contribute to better outcomes in [international regulatory cooperation] IRC. Accordingly, several U.S. initiatives focus on standardizing good regulatory practices (GRP) by engaging its rulemaking agencies in the IRC process. A substantial portion of these efforts is targeted at improving transparency and increasing stakeholder participation via improvements in agencies’ notice -and-comment rulemaking process. Public comment “has been a central element of U.S. regulatory procedure since it was required by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) of 1946.” [Notes omitted]

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OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2015

Editor’s Note: The following is presented as part of CRE’s ongoing research and reporting on regulatory analysis around the world. For information on the UK’s centralized regulatory review system, see here.

From: OECD

Regulations need retrospective review

From: The Hill | Congress Blog

By Sofie Miller

There’s an old adage that says, “You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” Everyone from teachers to businesses routinely evaluate the results of their efforts to see if they’re paying off, so it seems natural that we would expect the federal government to do the same for its regulations. However, that’s rarely the case: While recent efforts have drawn more attention to “retrospective review” of rules, new research shows agencies still have a long way to go.