Focus on OIRA

Bruce Levinson, Editor
May 24  President Trump signs measure ending safe harbor for state-run private-sector plans

May 23  Restraining The Regulatory State

May 22  Valuing Bureaucracy: The Case for Professional Government

May 19  The Views of a Political Scientist on the Institutionalization of OIRA

May 18  Requiring Formal Rulemaking Is a Thinly Veiled Attempt to Halt Regulation

May 17  Environmental NGOs Walking Timidly Up to the DQA Confessional

May 16  The Views of a Political Scientist on the Institutionalization of OIRA

Two Different Views on the Preferred Background for an OIRA Administrator

Publisher’s Note: Lawyers and economists: Trained but not educated. The aforementioned inference is drawn from the public comments which follow and  reflect the  wide range of possible positions held by members of Congress who oversee the confirmation of the Administrator of OIRA–the White House Office  of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) which is the cockpit of the regulatory state.  Although it would be difficult–but not impossible–for a person to make contributions to OIRA without some background in both economics and administrative law,  we believe the social entrepreneurial skills of any nominee out rank all other considerations. We make this statement because it is difficult to identify any of the  game changing events that lead to the establishment of OIRA which are dependent primarily on economic or legal skills.  Furthermore we are not convinced that the skills necessary to establish the most important institutional feature of the regulatory state differ from those necessary to operate it on a sustainable basis. Societal problems change with the passage of time and the skills necessary to maintain OIRA’s leadership role change accordingly.

Trump Regulation: A Library of Trump Regulatory Initiatives

CRE has maintained a library of the regulatory initiatives of every Administration for which centralized regulatory review was either under development or in actual operation. The initiatives are posted on the website TheOMB.US maintained by the Center for  Regulatory Effectiveness.

The posts on the Trump Regulation webpage will chronicle the official documents disseminated by the Trump Administration; Focus on OIRA will contain the accompanying commentary on the documents.



05/08/2017  Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Memorandum For: Regulatory Reform Officers and Regulatory Policy Officers at Executive Departments and Agencies

04/28/2017  Presidential Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

The Views of a Political Scientist on the Institutionalization of OIRA

Given the high priority accorded to controlling the size of the regulatory state by the Trump Administration the upcoming hearings on the nominee for the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is being accorded considerable attention by a range of interested stakeholders.

Although it is likely that the Senate hearings will focus on pending regulatory issues a more compelling line of inquiry is whether the new leader(s) of OIRA share a commonality with their predecessors concerning the need for the institutionalization of OIRA which  is dependent upon the exercise of neutral competence  as a basic pillar of its sustainability. If the aforementioned commonality exists it provides a basis for projecting the likely outcome of forthcoming decisions and a determination as to whether or not they will be in accord with former paradigms.

Neomi Rao to be the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

From: The White House

Ms. Rao is a professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where she founded and directs the Center for the Study of the Administrative State.  Her research and teaching focuses on constitutional and administrative law.  Currently a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, Ms. Rao has previously served in all three branches of the federal government.  She served as Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush; counsel for nominations and constitutional law to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary; and law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.  She practiced public international law and arbitration at Clifford Chance LLP in London.  Ms. Rao received her JD with high honors from the University of Chicago and her BA from Yale University.

Reorganizing the Executive Branch: We Need Your Input!

Editor’s Note: OMB’s Federal Register notice requesting comments, by June 12, 2017, on reorganizing the Executive Branch is attached here.

From: The White House

On March 13th, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order that will make the Federal government more efficient, effective, and accountable to you, the American people. This Executive Order directs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to present the President with a plan that recommends ways to reorganize the executive branch and eliminate unnecessary agencies.

President Trump wants to hear your ideas and suggestions on how the government can be better organized to work for the American people.

Trump taps Kushner to lead a SWAT team to fix government with business ideas

From: The Washington Post

President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.

Lessons from the godfather of regulatory budgeting

From: The Hill


The regulatory budget idea, which long has been advocated by policy wonks and has been implemented in countries such as Canada, ultimately may end up the most significant feature of Trump’s order. Given its importance, I sat down with the man many consider the godfather of regulatory budgeting, Jim Tozzi, to gauge his thoughts on the likelihood that the new administration will be able to implement such a program.

“I’m very pleased that they put it in, but I’m worried about the follow-through on making it work staff-wise and information-wise. I’m really concerned about that,” Tozzi said.

Historic OIRA Directive: Agencies, Use Domestic Regulatory Relief to Gain International Regulatory Relief

American regulations hobble American companies. Foreign regulations do the same thing. This is nothing new. Over thirty years ago, a senior OIRA official informed the President’s Regulatory Relief Task Force that

Many foreign governments are issuing a significant number of wide ranging regulations which result in unjustified expenditures on U.S. firms. Consequently the best of U.S, regulatory relief programs will not, by themselves, solve the problems created by foreign regulations. The regulations of foreign government often interfere with U.S, exports and the operation of multinational corporations by setting unreasonable product standards, limiting U.S. investment, requiring the use of local labor and materials and requiring that U.S. firms “offset” their sales by agreeing to export products produced by the foreign government.

OIRA’s Presidential Mandate to Implement a Regulatory Budget

After thirty seven years of analysis and debate the United States government is going to implement a regulatory budget as a result of a Presidential Executive Order [Sec. 3(d)] which will control the size of the regulatory state. OIRA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House Office of Management and Budget, has been assigned this task.

An issue of immediate concern is that OIRA is in need of additional staff but the probability of receiving additional staff is questionable as a result of personnel ceilings on the Executive Office of the President as well a recent personnel freeze.