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OMB Policy Statements 2001 - 2002

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OMB Affirms Requirement for Timely Agency Responses to Data Quality Complaints During Rulemakings
In a September 5th memorandum from Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator John Graham, OMB thanked federal agencies for the significant progress they have made in developing their draft Data Quality guidelines. The OMB memo also provided additional guidance on process issues so as to promote uniformity across agencies. Among the guidance provided by OMB was specific recommended language to ensure that agencies respond to Data Quality Act complaints during rulemakings in a timely fashion.

  • Click to review the OMB memorandum and attachment
  • CRE Regulatory Services

  • OMB Cracks Down on PRA Violations
    OIRA Administrator Dr. John Graham sent a memo to all agencies spotlighting the need for their compliance with the information collection provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act. The memo highlighted the five agencies with the most PRA violations.

  • Click to read OMB press release and Graham memo
  • Click to submit a comment

    OMB to Increase Transparency of Regulatory Review Process Through Internet
    During Congressional testimony on the Paperwork Reduction Act, OIRA Administrator Dr. John Graham discussed development of the Regulatory Information Services Center/OIRA Consolidated Information System (ROCIS). The new OMB system will make publicly available, through the internet, virtually all paper records in OIRA's Docket Library. ROCIS is expected to be fully operational by November 2003.

  • Click to read Graham testimony
  • Click to submit a comment

    Data Quality Act: Guidelines Apply to Public Submissions to Agencies
    In remarks to the National Economists Club, OIRA Administrator Dr. John Graham said that Data Quality requirements apply to third-parties submitting information to federal agencies. Since the guidelines apply to virtually all information disseminated by agencies, Dr. Graham explained that trade associations and other third parties which submit information to the government intended for citation or other use, must ensure that their information complies with Data Quality standards. Federal contractors are also required to adhere to OMB's Data Quality requirements.

  • Click to read an excerpt from BNA's Daily Environment Report
  • Click to submit comment

  • OMB Director Outlines the Consumer Protection Mission of Regulatory Review
    In an address to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), OMB Director Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. explained that in order for regulatory review to work for everyday citizens it must be conducted with maximum openness; it must rely on the best science; and it must demonstrate that its primary mission is to protect the welfare of the consumer.

  • Click to read the full text of OMB Director Daniels' speech
  • Click to submit a comment

    Administration Supports Prescription Drug Plan
    OMB has coordinated with relevant federal agencies to issue a Statement of Administration Policy in support of the Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act of 2002 (H.R. 4954). The Policy Statement hails the proposed legislation as a way to strengthen Medicare, particularly by commencing a prescription drug benefit. It would authorize a Medicare-endorsed prescription drug card and temporary assistance to low-income seniors. The legislation also would: (1) promote affordable coverage options that keep up with modern medicine; (2) address chronic underfunding of private plans in Medicare, and (3) provide other regulatory relief and simplification. The Administration pledges to work with Congress to produce a fiscally responsible bill that improves the Medicare system.

  • Click to review the Administration's Policy Statement
  • Click to submit a comment

    OMB Firm on Obligation of Agencies to Comply with its Data Quality Guidelines
    OMB's Administrator of OIRA issued a memorandum for all federal agencies pointing out a number of areas in which agency draft guidelines did not appear to be consistent with the OMB guidelines. The memorandum emphasized that agencies need to "commit" to standards which are either the same as those in the OMB guidelines or are consistent with them ( III). It also requested that agencies not insert statements in their guidelines suggesting that they were free to ignore the OMB guidelines ( V). CRE also notes, however, that the OIRA memorandum did not cite or quote the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 which provided the original legal basis for OMB's authority and the agencies' responsibility to comply with the OMB guidelines. The relevant statutory text is therefore provided below.

  • Click for text of statutory provisions
  • CRE Regulatory Services
  • Submit a comment

  • OMB's Supplementary Guidance to Agencies on Data Quality
    OMB recently issued supplementary guidance clarifying how federal agencies should interpret OMB's earlier government-wide guidelines implementing the Data Quality Act. OMB's latest guidance made several advances, in that it addresses a number of inconsistencies among agencies. For example, the new guidance eliminates agency attempts to apply the guidelines on a case-by-case basis. However, OMB stepped backward by not sufficiently clarifying that agencies cannot shield entire categories of information from coverage under the Data Quality Act guidelines. Consequently, CRE believes that when OMB reviews agencies' conforming Data Quality guidelines beginning on August 1st, OMB should again specifically curtail agencies' attempts, as they did in their originally proposed guidelines, to exempt information through their broad definition of "archival data"and through their use of loopholes to exempt a significant portion of the rulemaking process from the Data Quality Act.

  • Click to review OMB's press release and memorandum to the President's Management Council regarding interpretation of the OMB Data Quality guidelines.
  • Click to review OMB's appendix of Additional Quotations of Proposed Agency Provisions Organized by Topic. (PDF 1.5MB)
  • Click to submit a comment

  • Data Quality: OMB Paperwork Reduction Act Report to Congress Discusses Efforts to Improve the Quality of Information Disseminated by All Agencies
    OMB's annual report to Congress on the Paperwork Reduction Act has been expanded to include a number of relevant issues including efforts to continue to reduce the number of PRA violations as well as OIRA's actions to implement to Data Quality Act. The OMB report, Managing Information Collection and Dissemination, notes that OMB's Data Quality guidelines not only respond the Congressional requirements but also to the need for increased transparency in government decision-making.

  • Click to read OMB PRA report
  • Click to submit a comment

    Advancing the Goals of the Data Quality Act Cited in OMB Prompt Letter to EPA Requesting Improvements to TRI Program
    In a Prompt Letter to EPA, OIRA Administrator Dr. John Graham cited the Data Quality Act as the primary justification for a number of recommendations designed to enhance the practical utility of TRI data. The recommendations include establishing a single facility identification number for each reporting facility and speeding release of TRI data. EPA has 60 days to respond to the Prompt Letter.

  • Click to read OMB Press Release
  • Click to read OMB letter to EPA
  • Click to submit a comment

    OMB Ranks Regulatory Investments in Public Health
    Utilizing cost-effectiveness ratios, OMB developed a table ranking the public health investments in ten risk-reducing regulations from EPA, OSHA and DOT. The analysis, which includes a discussion of cost effectiveness ranking analysis, was included in the Analytic Perspectives section of the Administration's 2003 budget proposal.

  • Click here to read more
  • Click to submit comment

  • OMB Finds Proposed SBA Loan Program Expansion Would Not Further Agency's Mission
    SBA's draft Interim Final Rule to expand the Small Business Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to larger businesses was returned by OMB. The proposed EIDL expansion would have covered any business with fewer than 500 employees that experienced economic harm from the September 11 terrorist attacks. SBA currently defines small businesses based on the unique characteristics of each industry. OMB's Return Letter explained that the draft rule did not further the agency's mission and that the impact had not been appropriately analyzed.

  • Click to OMB's Return Letter
  • Click to submit comment

  • OMB Identifies More Effective and Less Costly Alternative for NHTSA Rulemaking
    NHTSA's failure to analyze a regulatory alternative for the draft Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems rule which could increase consumer safety, as well as limitations in the technical foundation for the agency's benefits analysis, resulted in OMB issuing a Return Letter. OMB's Return Letter, and accompanying analytic attachment, provide substantial detail about the draft rule's analytic deficiencies and safety issues the agency needs to consider. The Return Letter stressed OMB's support for promptly establishing a tire pressure monitoring safety standard.

  • Click to read OMB's Return Letter
  • Comment on Item

    OMB Announces Availability of Agency Inventories of Activities That Are Not Inherently Governmental
    Agency Inventories of Activities that are not Inherently Governmental are now available to the public. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which made the announcement, the public disclosure of the inventories complies with the "Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act of 1998" ("FAIR Act"), which requires OMB to publish an announcement of public availability of the inventories once OMB has completed its review and consultation process regarding the content of the agencies' inventory submissions. In order to view the complete list of agency inventories which have been made public, please refer to the link to the full notice in the Federal Register below.

  • Click to read OMB memo
  • Comment on Item

    OMB Issues Data Quality Guidelines Which Provide the Foundation for a Unified Federal Risk Assessment Program
    For more than two decades, the federal government has been attempting to establish guidelines for a consistent assessment of comparable risks across various agencies. OMB's recently promulgated Data Quality guidelines will go a long way in reducing such interagency differences. Inconsistencies will be narrowed, in part, because of the modifications made by OMB to its previously published interim Data Quality guidelines, based upon public comment. The Data Quality guidelines, coupled with OMB's regulatory review authorities set forth in Executive Order 12866, require that OMB review the risk assessments that underlie federal regulations to ensure both consistency across agencies and compliance with the guidelines.

  • Click here to review OMB's final Data Quality Guidelines
  • Read the history of the Federal Information Triangle.
  • Read the history of the Data Quality Act.
  • Comment on Item
  • View past CRE Regulatory Action of the Week items

    OMB Announces Initiative to Improve Federal Agency Management
    Emphasizing the "M" in OMB, Director Mitch Daniels unveiled the Administration's Freedom to Manage initiative. Consisting of two proposed bills, the initiative is designed to improve the ability of federal agencies to efficiently and effectively manage their programs. The Freedom to Manage Act of 2001 would provide procedures for agencies to identify statutory roadblocks to good management practices and speed Congressional consideration of their removal. The Managerial Flexibility Reform Act of 2001 would provide increased flexibility to federal officials on personnel and property management issues.

  • Click to read speech
  • Comment on Item

    OMB Issues Return Letter to USDA/APHIS on Draft Policy for Primates
    OIRA Administrator Graham issued a Return Letter to the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service sending back a draft policy on environmental enhancement for non-human primates. In the Return Letter, OIRA cited the need for APHIS to comply with the requirements of Executive Order 12866 and the Paperwork Reduction Act as well as concerns raised by the Interagency Research Animal Committee.

  • Click to read Return Letter
  • Comment on Item

    OMB Revives Use of Regulatory Return Letters Under Bush Administration
    One useful tool available to OMB to ensure sound regulation is the Regulatory Return Letter, through which rules may be returned to an agency for further consideration. Issuance of a Return Letter may occur for a variety of reasons and does not necessarily indicate opposition to the draft rule. However, under the Clinton Administration, Return Letters fell out of use, with none being issued from 1996 to 2000. The Bush Administration has recently revived use of this important regulatory mechanism, having issued 14 Return Letters since July 2001. CRE strongly supports use of the Return Letters to ensure that federal agencies promulgate rules which are well-reasoned and in compliance with all relevant requirements.

  • Click to read more and to review the OMB Return Letters Issued in 2001.
  • Click to submit comment

  • OMB Issues FY 2001 Information Collection Budget
    OMB recently issued its Information Collection Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal Year 2001, which provides a snapshot of the current federal paperwork burden. According to this report, in the fiscal year just passed, such burdens imposed on the public were expected to grow by 1.1 percent, an increase in effort of over 82 million hours. This reflects the eighth increase in the past ten years. OMB recognizes many actors contributing to the phenomenon of paperwork growth, including federal agencies, the Congress, and OMB itself; however, OMB stresses the potential for great improvement if these institutions work together to achieve the goals of the Paperwork Reduction Act. CRE encourages the Administration to undertake the necessary efforts and coordination to decrease these regulatory reporting burdens.

  • Click to read more and to access OMB's FY 2001 Information Collection Budget.
  • Click to submit comment

  • OMB Issues Annual "State of the Regulatory State" Report
    OMB has issued its annual report on regulation -- the 2001 Report to Congress on the Costs and Benefits of Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal Entities. Among the report's interesting findings is a statement that the cost of economic regulation is comparable to that of social regulation. As economic regulations are exempt from OMB review, CRE will soon propose a method for OMB review of the rules issued by independent agencies. The OMB report also indicates that the greatest percentage of OMB regulatory return letters came in the early years of the Reagan Administration under Executive Order 12291. In this latest report, OMB has identified 23 regulations for priority review. CRE encourages interested parties to consult the OMB report for additional details.

  • Click to review OMB priority issues for State of the Regulatory State review (146 KB)
  • Click to submit comment

  • OMB Sends Prompt Letters to NHTSA and EPA
    OMB wrote Prompt Letters to both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and EPA. The NHTSA letter requested that the agency consider establishing a high speed crash test so as to improve protection of vehicle occupants' lower extremities. The EPA letter supports the agency's research on particulate matter (PM) and recommends that some of the research focus on certain specific health issues similar to those identified by the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Research Priorities for Airborne Particulate Matter.

  • Read OMB prompt letter to NHTSA
  • Read OMB prompt letter to EPA
  • Click to submit comment

  • OMB Announces Initiative to Improve Federal Agency Management
    Emphasizing the "M" in OMB, Director Mitch Daniels unveiled the Administration's Freedom to Management initiative. Consisting of two proposed bills, the initiative is designed to improve the ability of federal agencies to efficiently and effectively manage their programs. The Freedom to Manage Act of 2001 would provide procedures for agencies to identify statutory roadblocks to good management practices and speed Congressional consideration of their removal. The Managerial Flexibility Reform Act of 2001 would provide increased flexibility to federal officials on personnel and property management issues.

  • Click to read OMB Press Release
  • Click to submit comment

  • OMB Adopts Management Scorecard for Executive Branch Agencies
    CRE, a pioneer in the use of reportcards to grade regulatory compliance by agencies, is pleased to note that OMB is initiating a comparable scorecard system for grading the management performance of agencies. The Scorecard will grade agencies, including OMB, on current status and progress in meeting the goals of the President's management initiatives.

  • Click to read OMB memo
  • Click to view Sample of the Executive Branch Management Scorecard (pdf)
  • Click to read Standards for Success for the Government-wide Initiatives (pdf)
  • Click to submit comment

  • OIRA to Increase Transparency of Regulatory Review Process
    Dr. John Graham, Administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, sent a memo to staff directing them to adhere to the OIRA disclosure procedures contained in Executive Order 12866. The memo explained that improving the regulatory system requires a transparent review process.

  • Click to read OIRA Disclosure Memo
  • Comment on Item

    Presidential Review of Agency Rulemaking
    The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House Office of Management and Budget has issued a statement on the principles and procedures it will utilize when reviewing regulations under EO 12866--Regulatory Planning and Review.

  • Click to read press release
  • Click to read document (pdf 44k)
  • Click to submit comment

  • OMB Promulgates Final Agency Guidelines on Data Quality
    OMB has met its statutory deadline to promulgate data quality guidelines. The issuance of these landmark guidelines completes a thirty year effort to construct the Federal Information Triangle: the establishment of a central regulatory review office in OMB (OIRA), the passage of the Paperwork Reduction Act which controls data coming into the government, and the Data Quality Act which controls data disseminated by the Federal government.

  • Read the history of the Federal Information Triangle.
  • Read the history of the Data Quality Act.

    The Office of Management and Budget has Accelerated the Development of Two Rulemakings Related to Public Health
    OMB has directed the FDA to accelerate development of a rule dealing with Trans Fatty Acids. Trans Fatty Acids in food increase the risk of developing heart disease. OMB also accelerated work on a rulemaking dealing with Automated External Defibrillators which increase the rate of survival after cardiac arrest.

  • Click to review the OMB action.
  • Click to submit comment

  • CRE Responds to Federal Times Article on Data Quality
    Federal Times, a preeminent publication for federal employees, reported that a number of its readers were concerned about the reproducibility provisions of the OMB's Data Quality guidelines as well as the impact these guidelines would have on peer review. CRE not only addressed these concerns in an op-ed piece to the Federal Times but had also given explicit considerations to those issues in its proposals for enactment of federal data quality legislation.

  • Click to read op-ed piece
  • Click to comment on the Article
  • Click to read CRE's comment's to OMB on Data Quality guidelines.
  • Click to review the Data Quality guidelines, as printed in the Federal Register.

  • White House Advances Competition for Service Proposal
    In 1996 OMB required federal agencies to provide competition for new and reimbursable work on the basis of Circular A-76 cost comparisons. Besides increasing cost efficiency by providing for both private and other public competition, the A-76 requirement was see as a way to alert federal agencies to the real and complete costs of their Activities, Revised Supplemental Handbook included a grandfather clause for work performed under the Inter-Service Support Agreement (e.g. work performed for the EPA by the Department of Commerce) commencing before October 1, 1997. Protected agreements could be renewed without further competition. OMB is now proposing to eliminate the grandfather clause and to require all Inter-Service Support Agreements to be subject to a recurring 3 to 5 year review cycle. Reimbursable support agreements within a single agency would not be covered under OMB's proposed Handbook changes.

    Agency and public comments on the proposed changes (see p. 34962 Federal Register of July 2, 2001) are due no later than August 16, 2001 and are to be addressed to:

    Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    NEOB Room 9013
    Office of Management and Budget
    727 17th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20503

    Fax (202) 395-5105

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