The Phenomenon of Midnight Regulations

From: Mercatus Center/George Mason University

By Sherzod Abdukadirov

Every four years, the number of new federal regulations surges during the “midnight” period between the Presidential Election Day and Inauguration Day. This surge is seen when an incumbent president is reelected; however, it is considerably higher when there is a change in administrations. Freed from many of the normal political constraints, administrations use the midnight period to enact sweeping and controversial regulations. Once finalized, regulations are difficult to repeal.

Should we regulate the president’s regulators?

From: Washington Post

Posted by Suzy Khimm

White House staffers don’t typically welcome a hailstorm of criticism. But Michael Fitzpatrick, a former administrator in Obama’s regulatory office, wears it as a badge of pride. “It’s an amazing thing to be blasted by left and right,” Fitzpatrick marveled, recounting on the attacks from industry groups and liberal advocates alike on the regulations he helped review. “It’s a pretty good indication you’re doing your job right.”

Improving How Agencies Collect Information

From: RegBlog

Stuart Shapiro

ThePaperwork Reduction Act (PRA) was passed in 1980 and reauthorized in 1986 and 1995. Its history has been inextricably linked with the history of regulatory review and presidential oversight of agency decisions. However, the intent of those who passed it was for it to be even broader: to bring rationality to the management of information within the executive branch. In the years since its passage, it has been a statute that is often forgotten and frequently mocked as ineffective or even counterproductive, most directly because, by any measure, information collection by the federal government has skyrocketed since enactment of the PRA.

Inside Midnight Regulations

Editor’s Note:  The podcast is available here.

From: Legal Talk Network

Back in June of 2012, the Administrative Conference of the United States approved non-binding “Midnight Rules” guidelines. Midnight rulemaking involves the pushing through of rules by a President, in the last few months of their administration. Host David Yas, a BU Law alum, former publisher of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and a V.P. at Bernstein Global Wealth, chats with consultant for the Administrative Conference of the United States, Professor Jack M. Beermann, about Midnight Regulations, the new recommendations and the potential impact on current and future administrations.

Replacing Cass Sunstein

From: Huffington Post

by Richard L. Revesz and Michael A. Livermore (Dean at NYU School of Law; and Executive Director of Policy Integrity)

Cass Sunstein recently announced his departure from the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), and an acting director will occupy the post most likely until after Election Day.  Whether President Obama gets another bite at the apple or Governor Romney gets a shot at the next appointment, there are certain tenets that should be adhered to when looking for a new OIRA director.

Continuity, Change, and Priorities: The Quality and Use of Regulatory Analysis Across U.S. Administrations

From: Mercatus Center/George Mason University

by Patrick McLaughlin, Jerry Ellig, John Morrall

This paper compares the quality and use of regulatory analysis accompanying economically significant regulations proposed by US executive branch agencies in 2008, 2009, and 2010. We find that the quality of regulatory analysis is generally low, but varies widely. Budget regulations, which define how the federal government will spend money or collect revenues, have much lower-quality analysis than other regulations. The Bush administration’s “midnight” regulations finalized between Election Day and Inauguration Day, along with other regulations left for the Obama administration to finalize, tended to have lower-quality analysis. Most differences between the Bush and Obama administrations depend on agencies’ policy preferences. More conservative agencies tended to produce better analysis in the Obama administration, and more liberal agencies tended to do so in the Bush administration. This suggests that agencies more central to an administration’s policy priorities do not have to produce as good an analysis to get their regulations promulgated.

New Publication – Regulation: A Primer

Editor’s Note:  “Regulation: A Primer” (Second Edition) by Susan E. Dudley and Jerry Brito is atatched  here

From: George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center

In conjunction with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University,  the GW Regulatory Studies Center is proud to announce the release of a  brand-new, updated publication of Regulation: A Primer by RSC Director Susan Dudley and Mercatus Senior Research Fellow Jerry Brito.

Federal regulations affect nearly every area of our lives, and public interest  in regulation is increasing. However, many people don’t know how regulations  are developed or how they affect the lives of everyday American citizens. The Primer provides an accessible overview  of regulatory theory, analysis, and practice to simplify the rulemaking process for academics and policy makers alike.

Can the White House Trim U.S. Paperwork?

From: RegBlog

Sam Batkins

Not  long before announcing that he will be leaving the administration, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator Cass Sunstein penned a memo to regulatory agencies urging “significant quantifiable reductions in paperwork burdens.” This latest memo comes on the heels of a variety of Executive Orders by President Obama on regulatory reform: 13610, 13609, 13579, and 13563.

Major changes to performance management in OMB budget guidance

From: 1500AM

By Jason Miller

New budget guidance from the Office of Management and Budget is making significant changes to the way agencies manage their performance goals.

The updated A-11 Circular  released late last week helps agencies prepare  for their fiscal 2014 budget requests due to OMB in mid-September.

OMB traditionally releases an updated A-11 in June. The timing of this year’s release forces agencies to make some tough decisions in about six weeks.

Resolution Urges US Agencies to Pursue Regulatory Cooperation with Foreign Counterparts

From: ABA Journal

By Debra Cassens Weiss

A resolution passed by the ABA House of Delegates on Tuesday urges federal agencies to pursue regulatory cooperation with relevant foreign authorities.

The House passed Resolution 109B, which says the agencies should cooperate where appropriate and “consistent with their legal authority, statutory mandates, and regulatory missions.” The resolution states that U.S. agencies should work with their foreign counterparts to develop “common regulatory agendas, harmonized regulatory standards, information exchanges, and mutual recognition of tests and inspections.”