Editor’s Note: In a new Politico article, Shaun Donovan, President’s pick to head OMB, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) parent organization, discussed his plans for acting on regulations.
Obama’s new regulatory czar
By: Edward-Isaac Dovere
Donovan, the nominee to take over the Office of Management and Budget, won’t have a huge public profile, but will be key in shaping Obama’s legacy and advancing a progressive agenda through federal regulations.
Especially before the 2012 election, the White House slowed many regulations due to political fears. But with his “pen and phone” strategy, Obama’s been looking to move forcefully around Congress, and Donovan sees himself as an aggressive, progressive addition.
Other OMB directors “said no,” Donovan told Obama upon being offered the job, according to a person familiar with the conversation. “That’s not who I am. I’m going to find ways to do things, not to not do things.”
There’s a lot he’ll have the opportunity to do, from digging in on the renewed attention to Environmental Protection Agency regulations — OMB already has been reviewing the draft standards limiting carbon dioxide emissions on existing power plants and EPA will release those standards June 2, with a final version due in June 2015 — to the long-pending executive order banning LGBT discrimination among federal contractors.
More EPA rules are expected as part of the continuing rollout of Obama’s Climate Action Plan put out next year, and OMB will be at the center of signing off on all of them. But the emissions standards are the most significant, with the potential to either be arguably the biggest single measure the nation’s taken to address climate change — but require not being so oppressive that they put plants out of business while not being so loose that they’re totally ineffectual.