Bruce Levinson, Editor
Editor’s Note: CRE, as is the case with many other organizations, is routinely asked by transition teams associated with incoming Administrations to provide a list of high priority regulatory proposals. In response to incoming and expected additional requests we have delineated below, designated either as underway or planned, the items we believe should be accorded the highest priority prior to embarking on other initiatives.
The Executive: Actions Completed
Arming the President; rebalancing the regulators
ACUS, at its recent plenary session, released a report titled Agency Information Dissemination in the Internet ERA. The report is the first step in informing federal agencies and the public of the need to exercise oversight over some of the 200,000 databases published on federal websites—content stored away in the darkest corners of the regulatory state.
An earlier ACUS staff report correctly identified that the mechanism of choice for such an oversight of federal databases is the Data [Information] Quality Act. (DQA). The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness prepared detailed comments in support of the draft and also explained in detail the social costs of not adopting the earlier draft.
Editor’s Note: See this announcement of a landmark bill which not only implements a regulatory budget but also provides the basis for the institutional change needed for its survival–building a national constituency for OIRA.
It has been thirty six years since the first prototype regulatory budget was created during the Carter Administration; it has been nearly half a century since the concept of centralized regulatory review, a necessary condition for the implementation of a regulatory budget, was formulated in the Johnson Administration and first implemented in the Nixon Administration.
To the RPO’s and related staff:
Although the documents in the attachment highlight the contributions of OIRA, it is best to view OIRA as synonym for centralized regulatory review for which the contributions of the RPO’s and their colleagues in the agencies can never be given enough credit.
Four Markers for Restoring America’s Leadership in the Management of the Regulatory State
■ OIRA: The Most Important Government Office You Never Heard of (IVN News, January 29, 2016)
■ Three Reasons Why OIRA Needs A Strong Institutional Base (JREG Notice and Comment, January 27, 2016)
Reprinted from the website of the Independent Voters Network (IVN)
OIRA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, located in the White House Office of Management and Budget, is often referred to as the “most important office you never heard of.”
Why? Because it is the office that must review all significant regulations issued by all federal agencies before they become legally binding on the American public; in essence, it is the “cockpit” of the regulatory state.
One can only imagine that the office is often maligned, sometimes by the left and sometimes by the right.
The Data Quality Act (DQA) has been in existence for some fifteen years. Although a handful of practitioners have had considerably more than a modest success in its implementation the public as a whole has not taken advantage of this powerful instrument.
In its most basic form the DQA allows the public to challenge any piece of data disseminated by a federal agency; of equal importance the petitioners who exercise this challenge are armed with a statute which places a requirement on federal agencies to disseminate only that data which is reproducible and unbiased.
Do you wish to put a cap on the cost of regulations that regulators can impose on the public?
The answer is to implement a regulatory budget.
Proposals to implement a regulatory budget have been under review for more than three decades.
A number of recent events have set the stage to make this needed improvement in the federal regulatory process.
The relevant background and game plan is here.
From: University of Pennsylvania Law School | RegBlog
by Jim Tozzi
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed the first regulatory budget proposal and regulatory cost accounting legislation in 1979. Subsequently, a number of Presidents and members of Congress have continued to endorse proposals to create a regulatory budget for the federal government.
Read entire article.
Professor Wagner has written an interesting article dealing with Presidential Power and its impact on agency expertise.
In a number of rule settings, OIRA suggests dozens of intricate changes outside of the agencies’ rigorous deliberative processes that, while presumably intended to advance larger policy preferences, also involve changes to the agencies’ supporting, technical explanations.
Our view is that OIRA has the statutory mandate to enforce the Data Quality Act and to the extent OIRA comments are substantiated by the requirements of the said Act, OIRA is simply following its Congressional mandate.