A Syllabus on OIRA, by Jim Tozzi
In any incoming Administration there are two unique appointments which could have a significant impact on the ultimate success or failure of an Administration, the Director of OMB and the leader of one of its component offices—the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OIRA. The former helps develop and enforce Presidential policies using the annual budget as its medium of expression and the latter is the President’s regulatory pilot who operates from the cockpit of the regulatory state (OIRA); both positions are confirmed by the Senate.
The following is a very brief history of OIRA aimed at educating incoming personnel of its strengths, limitations and options for improvement. The material that follows is not the conventional “hit list” of troublesome regulations nor a compendium of must pass legislation but instead provides structural and process options which will govern the effectiveness of OIRA. To this end care should be taken not to allow the short term goal of eliminating troublesome regulations to completely overshadow a longer term goal of improving the regulatory process; centralized regulatory review owes its very existence to the fact that a select number of predecessor administrations did not permit short term goals to crowd out long term goals. The material presented herein is based on working in or with OIRA and its predecessor organizations for more than a half a century.