Presidential Power

Extracted from–

1979 Presidential Power and Administrative Rulemaking

Harold H. Bruff

Yale Law Journal

Another form of procedural requirement can promote coordination among agencies and can also influence the substance of regulation. Imposition of interagency review and comment procedures forces the subject agency to respond to the comments of other agencies in explaining its rules, even though the reviewing agencies are not granted the power to mandate changes in the rules. An example of this is “Quality of Life” review, instituted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 1971 to review environmental regulations.

The history of Quality of Life review reveals a tendency for “procedural” techniques such as interagency review to pressure the subject agency toward substantive change, or to provide an opportunity for those opposed to statutory programs to delay their implementation. ¬†The EPA circulated proposed regulations to other agencies for comment and responded to their criticisms. The Department of Commerce was a frequent and hostile participant, often reflecting industry opposition to proposed EPA rules. If EPA’s resolution of the issues dissatisfied other agencies, they called for a meeting, presided over by OMB officials and sometimes involving White House staff.

Once the disputed issues were resolved by meetings, proposed regulations were published in the Federal Register. The procedure was repeated before the promulgation of final regulations. Because agency comments were not made part of the public record and often occurred before notice of proposed rulemaking, Quality of Life review had low visibility. The procedure effected some substantive changes and improved the quality of supporting analysis produced by the agency to justify its proposals. Although it caused some delay in the regulatory process, it did permit the EPA to maintain its  autonomy in resolving substantive issues that it considered important.

Sources or

Background Information

Quality of Life Review

Nine Pacesetters for the Establishment of Centralized Regulatory Review via the Quality of Life Review

Executive Branch Deliberations on the Duration of the Quality of Life Review





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