A (Long) Path to Reforming Our Administrative State

From: Library of Law & Liberty

by Adam White

Coherence in the Executive

Brian Mannix counsels wisely that the modern executive requires not just “energy” (per Hamilton) but also “coherence”—to wit, “an administrative consistency, not just across time and place, but also across hundreds of regulatory programs busily pursuing inconsistent aims.” I could not possible agree more; indeed, that was one of the reasons why my first essay argues in favor of bulking up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and subjecting “independent agencies” to OIRA review. OIRA ensures not just that an agency’s rules pass cost-benefit muster, but also that an agency’s rules are scrutinized by (and responsive to) the concerns of other agencies. If an administration is to have coherence, then OIRA will be indispensable.


But for precisely that reason, I would urge Brian not to downplay OIRA’s open-door policy, through which a presidential dministration should obtain (in Brian’s skeptical words) “more robust public input.” As an administration attempts to achieve coherence among its myriad agencies’ regulatory programs, it should hear directly from the public—not just through the filter of an agency’s notice-and-comment process, but also through the meetings the OIRA conducts regularly with interested members of the public. OIRA’s open-door policy may not always be an open-ears policy, but even perfunctory meetings with the public are a useful exercise, for the sake of the process.

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