The Senate on Regulation: Establishing a Regulatory Budget

Editor’s Note: The concept of Regulatory Budgeting was pioneered at OMB, see here. Centralized regulation in the U.K. is discussed here.

From: American Action Forum

By

The American Action Forum (AAF) has spent considerable time outlining the efficacy, potential benefits, and international perspectives behind a budget for federal regulation. Now, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) has sponsored the “RED Tape Act of 2015” (S. 1944), which aims to install a British-style “one-in, one-out” method for regulatory accounting.

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A Framework for Regulatory Excellence

From: RegBlog | Penn Program on Regulation

What does it mean to be an “excellent” regulator? What qualities does regulatory excellence require? How is such excellence measured? And how can a regulator achieve the goal of regulatory excellence?

A new report, issued today by Penn Law professor Cary Coglianese for the Penn Program on Regulation’s Best-in-Class Regulator Initiative, answers these questions. The report culminates the Initiative’s efforts to define “regulatory excellence.” The project, commissioned by the Alberta Energy Regulator and led by Coglianese, incorporated papers from a wide range of scholars and multiple dialogues held both in Alberta and Philadelphia.

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Presidential Actions in Support of a Regulatory Budget

The publication of the Carter Regulatory Budget resulted in a number of subsequent actions by one or more Presidents.

                                           Bush (1)

Jeff  Rosen states:

C. George H.W. Bush Administration Regulatory Budgeting Proposals

Time to Apply Office of Management and Budget Regulatory Review to Independent Agencies

Editor’s Note: See CRE’s 2002 Blueprint for OMB Review of Independent Agency Regulations here.

From: Truth on the Market

Alden Abbott

Last June, in Michigan v. EPA, the Supreme Court commendably recognized cost-benefit analysis as critical to any reasoned evaluation of regulatory proposals by federal agencies.  (For more on the merits and limitations of this holding, see my June 29 blog.)  The White House (Office of Management and Budget) office that evaluates proposed federal regulations, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), does not, however, currently assess independent agencies’ regulations (the Heritage Foundation has argued that independent agencies should be subjected to Executive Branch regulatory review).  This is most unfortunate, because the economic impact of independent agencies’ regulations (such as those promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, among many other “independent” entities) is enormous.

Who Are You Calling Irrational?

From: Northwestern Law Review

Aneil Kovvali

Introduction

Cass Sunstein is the leading advocate of “nudges”—small policy interventions that yield major impacts because of behavioral quirks in the way that people process information. Such interventions form the core of Sunstein’s philosophy of “libertarian paternalism,” which seeks to improve on individuals’ decisions while preserving their freedom to choose. In Why Nudge?, Sunstein forcefully defends libertarian paternalism against John Stuart Mill’s famous Harm Principle, which holds that government should only coerce a person when it is acting to prevent harm to others. Sunstein urges that, unlike more coercive measures, nudges respect subjects’ goals, even as they reshape their choices. Using an analogy to voting paradoxes, this Review shows that reconciling multiple, inconsistent goals is a fundamentally challenging problem that leaves even deliberative individuals vulnerable to manipulation through nudges. The fact of inconsistent goals means that government regulators who deploy nudges select and impose their own objectives, instead of merely advancing the goals of the regulated. The analogy also highlights that multimember legislative bodies are subject to many of the same quirks as individuals, raising questions about the government’s ability to improve on individuals’ choices.

Professor Pierce on a Regulatory Budget

 

I strongly support the idea of a regulatory budget, but it needs to be carefully designed and implemented. As I will explain later in my testimony, we already have the functional equivalent of a regulatory budget in the form of Executive Orders issued by Presidents of both parties that are implemented by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). That regulatory budget is well-designed and well-implemented.

 

See  Pierce on Regulatory Budget

Controlling the Cumulative Costs of Regulation: Exploring Potential Solutions

Submitted by:

Reeve T. Bull – Research Chief, Administrative Conference of the United States; Co-Chair of ABA Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section E-Rulemaking Committee

Over three decades ago, the United States was at the forefront of developed nations in creating a centralized system for regulatory review and rationalizing regulatory policymaking through the use of benefit-cost analysis.

In the ensuing thirty years, the United States’ system for executive review has changed very little, notwithstanding some minor readjustments. . In that same time period, other developed nations have enacted significant regulatory reforms, some of which involve copying the American framework but many of which represent new innovations that go well beyond what the United States has adopted.

Inconsistent, Duplicative Regulations Undercut Productivity of U.S. Research Enterprise

From: The National Academies

Inconsistent, Duplicative Regulations Undercut Productivity of U.S. Research Enterprise; Actions Needed to Streamline and Harmonize Regulations, Reinvigorate Government-University Partnership

WASHINGTON — Continuing expansion of federal research regulations and requirements is diminishing the effectiveness of the U.S. scientific enterprise and lowering the return on the federal investment in research by directing investigators’ time away from research and toward administrative matters, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report identifies specific actions Congress, the White House, federal agencies, and research institutions should take to reduce the regulatory burden.

The Insightful Views of a Student on Benefit/Cost Analysis

As we embark on the creation of the OIRA Teaching Module we have encouraged the participation of a wide range of disciplines including, economics, law, public administration, political science and public polity.

Mr. Joe Vladeck, a student at Georgetown Law, prepared the attached paper on benefit/cost analysis.

Mr Vladeck opines,

As long as taking time will lower uncertainty, either passively or actively through an investment in information gathering, and some costs are irreversible, such as the potential costs of a sunk investment, a benefit can be assigned to the option to delay a decision. That benefit should be considered a cost of taking immediate action versus the alternative of delaying that action pending more information. However, the burdens of delay—including any harm to public health, safety, and the environment—need to be analyzed carefully.

Questions and Reference Documents for Student Submissions

Questions

1. Should the cumulative cost of regulations imposed by federal regulators be capped? Why or why not? What mechanism, if any, should be used to set such a cap on compliance costs?

2. Should OIRA’s regulatory review role be expanded to include independent agencies? Discuss the political, legal, and/or economic implications of such an expansion.

3. DOJ has informed the court that OIRA is the ultimate decision-maker on Requests for Correction filed pursuant to the Data Quality Act. What are the implications of this decision? Should the DOJ change its position that decisions made with respect to the Data Quality Act are not judicially reviewable?