The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) these days has a bipartisan fan base, but as regulatory review was being established as a presidential power in the 1970s and early 1980s, this was not the case. This paper draws extensively on archival documents to examine the origins of regulatory review in an effort to understand how it established itself as a constant of presidential management. Successful institutionalization is not simply a matter of structure and process – that is, adding a box to an organizational flow chart – but requires resources ranging from staff, autonomy, political leverage, and expertise.
White House Review of Independent Agency Rulemaking: An Essential Element of Badly Needed Regulatory Reform
Editor’s Note: See, A Blueprint for OMB Review of Independent Agency Regulations (CRE, 2002).
From: The Heritage Foundation
Heavy-handed federal regulation acts like an excessive tax on the American economy, stifling economic growth and innovation. In order to enhance its effectiveness in paring back overregulation, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) should extend its cost-benefit oversight to rules proposed by “independent” federal agencies, which are responsible for a large proportion of onerous regulations. President Trump, therefore, should promulgate an executive order directing independent agencies to submit their major rules for OIRA analysis, consistent with his constitutional authority to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. That Order should also require independent agencies to undertake additional regulatory reform initiatives that the President recently has placed on executive branch agencies.
In the table below, the Administrative Conference has identified a comprehensive list of extant executive orders that apply to most agencies’ informal rulemaking activities (i.e. rulemaking pursuant to Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)). Three of the executive orders: 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), 13132 (Federalism), and 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments) are briefly described in the main table, but also have their own tables to which the main table links.
From: The Regulatory Review
Verkuil might also have noted another, related problem, this one arising in part from long careers in a single agency. Many civil servants work in cloistered and self-referential interpretative communities. A common result is that they stand resolutely on entrenched agency interpretations of rules—not all of them even reasonable, let alone compelled—that can deprive the system (often other affected agencies) of the flexibility to respond to new circumstances and embrace suggestions for better ways of doing things. There is seldom effective recourse to outside interpreters—federal judges, lawyers at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, officials at OMB—to tell an agency that its own interpretation of the law may not be the only, the best, or even a reasonable one.
Editor’s Note, from Professor Nielson’s paper:
it does not matter whether an agency likes a procedural requirement; if the agency does not comply with the requirement, a court or OIRA will be there to enforce compliance.
From: Notice & Comment | A Blog from the Yale Journal on Regulation and the ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
Here is the abstract: