The History of OIRA: Help or Hinderance?

Subsequent to the issuance of the Executive Order on modernization of the regulatory process numerous experts have written on its impact. Many of the authors claim that the Administration is bending the rules on the conduct of benefit-cost analyses of rules and suggest that the aforementioned action dwarfs other directives in the Executive Order.   It is a safe bet that none of the aforementioned authors are familiar with the history of OIRA.

That said, is  the absence of a knowledge of the history of OIRA a handicap in interpreting  the significance of current events? Please note that OIRA became a functioning unit only after its predecessors survived the scrutiny of five consecutive Presidential Administrations, a nod to its history.

A reading of the history of OIRA will rapidly lead one to conclude that it was created to require the benefit-cost analysis of rules and to have non-agency personnel conduct a review of the aforementioned analyses. The presence of a truth cop was the vital concern; at the onset the principles governing benefit-cost analyses  were not considered an overriding factor because the truth cop would have the final say on their content.

An acceptance of the above history leads one to a different conclusion as to the most significant change resulting from the aforementioned Executive Order as set forth in this post: OIRA at a Crossroads.

 In summary, changing the historical role of OIRA from a  reactive reviewer of agency programs to  a proactive promoter  of a  select number of these programs, however beneficial, is as consequential as changing the norms for the review of the aforementioned programs. In such a circumstance on could argue that the truth cop no longer exists which would support the argument that a knowledge of  historical events is helpful in assessing current day actions.

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