CRE Regulatory Recommendations to the Incoming Administration: Implement A Blueprint for Regulatory Equilibrium

Editor’s Note:  CRE, as is the case with many other organizations, is routinely asked by transition teams associated with incoming Administrations to provide a list of high priority regulatory proposals.  In response to incoming and expected additional requests we have delineated below, designated either as underway or planned,  the items we believe should be accorded the highest priority prior to embarking on other  initiatives.

 The Executive:  Actions Completed

Arming the President; rebalancing the regulators

Establishment of Centralized Regulatory Review

Establishment of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Publication of the Unified Agenda

Administration of the Data Quality Act

The Report of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) on the Oversight of Federal Databases

ACUS, at its recent plenary session, released a report titled Agency Information Dissemination in the Internet ERA. The report is the first step in informing federal agencies and the public of the need to exercise oversight over some of the 200,000 databases published on federal websites—content stored away in the darkest corners of the regulatory state.

An earlier ACUS staff report correctly identified that the mechanism of choice for such an oversight of federal databases is the Data [Information] Quality Act. (DQA). The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness prepared detailed comments in support of the draft and also explained in detail the social costs of not adopting the earlier draft.

A Website Dedicated to the Implementation of a Regulatory Budget

The website consists of two parts:

1.  A library, which is updated continuously, of major articles written on a regulatory budget, and

2.  A commentary on critical events leading to the implementation of a regulatory budget which will demonstrate its broad base of support.


March 2016

It has been thirty six years since the first prototype regulatory budget was created during the Carter Administration; it has been nearly half a century since the concept of centralized regulatory review, a necessary condition for the implementation of a regulatory budget, was formulated in the Johnson Administration and first implemented in the Nixon Administration.

Two Sets of Markers Critical to The Management of the Regulatory State

To the RPO’s and related staff:

Although the documents in the attachment highlight the contributions of OIRA, it is best to view OIRA as synonym for centralized regulatory review for which the contributions of the RPO’s and their colleagues in the agencies can never be given enough credit.



 Four Markers for Restoring America’s Leadership in the Management of the Regulatory State

■  OIRA: The Most Important Government Office You Never Heard of (IVN News, January 29, 2016)

■  Three Reasons Why OIRA Needs A Strong Institutional Base (JREG Notice and Comment, January 27, 2016)

OIRA: The Most Important Government Office You Never Heard of

Reprinted from the website of the Independent Voters Network (IVN)


Not Red, Not Blue

OIRA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, located in the White House Office of Management and Budget, is often referred to as the “most important office you never heard of.”

Why? Because it is the office that must review all significant regulations issued by all federal agencies before they become legally binding on the American public; in essence, it is the “cockpit” of the regulatory state.

One can only imagine that the office is often maligned, sometimes by the left and sometimes by the right.

Rebirth of the Data Quality Act

The Data Quality Act (DQA) has been in existence for some fifteen years. Although a handful of practitioners have had considerably more than a modest success in its implementation the public as a whole has not taken advantage of this powerful instrument.

In its most basic form the DQA allows the public to challenge any piece of data disseminated by a federal agency; of equal importance the petitioners who exercise this challenge are armed with a statute which places a requirement on federal agencies to disseminate only  that data which is reproducible and unbiased.

The Roadmap to a Regulatory Budget

Do you wish to put a cap on the cost of regulations that regulators can impose on the public?

The answer is to implement a regulatory budget.

Proposals to implement a regulatory budget have been under review for more than three decades.

A number of recent events have set the stage to make this needed improvement in the federal regulatory process.

The relevant background and game plan is here.

The Coming of the Regulatory Budget

From: University of Pennsylvania Law School | RegBlog

by Jim Tozzi

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed the first regulatory budget proposal and regulatory cost accounting legislation in 1979. Subsequently, a number of Presidents and members of Congress have continued to endorse proposals to create a regulatory budget for the federal government.

Read entire article.

Reconciling Agency Expertise With Presidential Power

Professor Wagner has written an interesting article dealing with Presidential Power and its impact on agency expertise.

She concludes:

 In a number of rule settings, OIRA suggests dozens of intricate changes outside of the agencies’ rigorous deliberative processes that, while presumably intended to advance larger policy preferences, also involve changes to the agencies’ supporting, technical explanations.

Our view is that OIRA has the statutory mandate to enforce the Data Quality Act and to the extent OIRA comments are substantiated by the requirements of the said Act, OIRA is simply following its Congressional mandate.

The Coincidental and Timely Issuance of Two Publications: One by the Administrative Conference of the US (ACUS) and the other by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)

The Administrative Conference of the United States has just reported out of committee a report entitled Agency Information and Dissemination in the Internet Era. This landmark report, the first report of its kind issued by a federal agency, identifies the important role that federal databases and associated regulatory information play not only in the proper functioning of a national government but in the daily operation of open-markets.

The report issued by CEI, titled A Preliminary Inventory of Regulatory Dark Matter” identifies the plethora of documents which are not considered to be regulations but can have a similar effect, including press releases, guidance documents, Executive Orders, presidential memoranda, memoranda of understanding between agencies, settlement agreements and directives.