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Jan
15

A long shutdown hinders Trump’s deregulatory efforts

From: The Hill | Opinion

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Less visible, however, is the absence of smaller and less public-facing entities such as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which employs about 450 people. Nestled in the OMB is a small office, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), where I was part of the career staff until last year. An office that inspires colorful language, OIRA has been called “obscure but powerful” and the “cockpit of the regulatory state.” It has many functions, but the one that garners most public attention is its role in reviewing draft regulations before they are issued to the public.

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Second, even for funded agencies, many are subject to OIRA review, but OIRA’s staff is largely furloughed. OIRA says on its website that it “is conducting review of regulatory actions that are deemed excepted activity,” but as noted above, this is a high threshold and not business as usual. The portion of OIRA’s website that tracks regulatory reviews is being updated, and it shows very little activity since the start of the shutdown. As it rolls on, the shutdown will increase pressure on OIRA to waive its review or justify calling its staff in for “excepted” work.

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