March 5, 2014

Produce Movement Rule Heads to OMB

From: Politico/Morning Agriculture

PRODUCE MOVEMENT RULE HEADS TO OMB: USDA quietly sent its proposed performance standards for the importation and interstate movement of produce to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review late last week, signaling a rule could be released in the next few months. The proposal seeks to expand upon existing regulations governing the importation of produce to apply to all new fruits and vegetables through a notice-based process, according to the Fall 2013 Unified Agenda that detailed USDA’s plan. It aims to streamline the process for allowing produce not currently authorized for import, but still allow USDA to act quickly in the event of a foreign pest or disease outbreak.

February 24, 2014

Internalizing Cost-Benefit Analysis

From: RegBlog University of Pennsylvania Program on Regulation

Before an agency completes a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) subject to oversight by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), or by the courts if an agency decision is litigated, what forms of internal review of that analysis should the agency undertake on its own?

One increasingly common practice is for agencies to establish a centralized review office or officer charged with examining the internal cost-benefit figures developed by the agency’s rule-writing staff.  Examples of such offices include the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Policy or the Bureau of Economic Analysis within the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  These internal agency CBA reviewers are often trained economists who work closely with agency policymaking officials to evaluate internal CBAs before they ever face external review.

Wonks in embattled regulatory office are mysterious — but ‘not nefarious’


Robin Bravender and Emily Yehle, E&E reporters

First of two stories about OIRA.

On the 10th floor of a red brick building with a leaky roof not far from the White House are offices and cubicles filled with some of the most influential people in Washington.

Most people have never heard of them.

They’re the cadre of wonky bureaucrats in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a division of the White House budget office.

February 21, 2014

E-cig industry on tenterhooks ahead of U.S. regulation

From: Reuters

Toni Clarke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lobbyists for electronic cigarette companies have been beating a path to the White House, hoping to prevent the administration from imposing strict, and possibly costly, rules on the burgeoning $2 billion industry.

In November and December, more than 35 organizations including e-cigarette companies, cigar and tobacco makers, trade associations, physician groups, lawyers, lobbyists and public health advocates trooped through the doors of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

February 17, 2014

FMCSA to issue long-sought rule on CDL drug/alcohol clearinghouse

From: FleetOwner

Clearinghouse would enable access to verified positive drug/alcohol test results
 | Fleet Owner

A proposed rule, which trucking has lobbied some 15 years for, to set up a national clearinghouse— a central database– of CDL holders to track those in violation of federal drug/alcohol-use regulations has at last been announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

According to the agency, the rule “would help improve roadway safety by making it easier to determine whether a truck or bus driver is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for failing to comply with federal drug and alcohol regulations, including mandatory testing.”

Regulatory Reform: What’s New in 2014?

From: Regulatory Studies Center/George Washington University

The 113th Congress is considering various bills that would reform the way regulations are developed, analyzed, and reviewed. The GW Regulatory Studies Center has tracked and classified these bills since the beginning of the 113th Congress and will continue tracking and updating the information regularly throughout its duration. By classifying each bill according to its approach to regulatory reform, based on the reform elements below, we hope to shed some light on the types of reforms being considered and their status.

February 7, 2014

ARA, other groups opposing expansion of Clean Water Act

From: AgProfessional

The Agricultural Retailers Association, in conjunction with the Water Advocacy Coalition, submitted a letter to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) opposing a proposed rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The rule would dramatically expand the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

“The draft proposed rule fails to comply with important regulatory requirements, relies on a flawed economic analysis, and is purportedly based on a scientific report that has not been peer reviewed,” the letter states. “In light of these concerns, OMB should return the draft proposed rule to the agencies and require them to address the substantive issues and procedural flaws before any proposed rule is released for public comment.”

February 3, 2014

Sunstein: What, exactly, are these ‘executive orders’?

Editor’s Note: For information about the limits of Presidential authority, please see here.

From: Bloomberg View via Richmond Times-Dispatch


In the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, there is a lot of confusion about the phrase “executive actions.” The president has an assortment of different tools, and it is important to distinguish among them.

“Executive orders,” issued by the president personally, often involve large-scale, government-wide matters, and contain his own orders to the officials who work for him. For example, an executive order might require executive agencies to reassess and streamline existing regulations, to promote diversity in the federal workforce or to improve customer service.

January 31, 2014

Changing the way we eat

From: PoliticoPro


Part of a POLITICO Pro Special Report series on the Obama administration’s executive action and regulatory agenda.

The Obama administration is moving ahead to make its mark on the American food system.

While Congress idles on food policy — even the farm bill was a struggle — the Food and Drug Administration is looking to ban trans fat, mandate calorie labels at chain restaurants and vending machines and is poised to revamp Nutrition Facts labels for the first time in 20 years.

January 29, 2014

Feds to list truck drivers who fail drug, alcohol tests

From: The Hill/RegWatch

By Tim Devaney

The Obama administration is poised to issue regulations that target truck drivers who have failed drug or alcohol tests.

The  new rule from the Department of Transportation would establish a federal database of commercial truck and bus drivers who have failed or refused  to take the tests. The database would be available to trucking companies so that they can perform background checks before hiring prospective employees.

The White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) this week completed a review of the rule, which was originally submitted for approval in March 2013. All economically significant regulations must go through OIRA before they are published in the Federal Register.