Archive for April, 2013

Obama’s Nominee for OIRA Director

From: HuffPost

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

President Obama announced yesterday his selection of Howard Shelanski as the next Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House. OIRA, although not widely known, reviews the regulations that are adopted by nearly all federal agencies: everything from EPA rules to limit mercury pollution from power plants to TSA rules governing airport screening procedures. This will give Shelanski enormous power to shape the remainder of the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda.

Go Simple

From: New York Times


HOW many millions of hours do you think Americans spend on government paperwork every year?

The answer is staggering. It is measured not in the millions of hours, but in the billions — 9.14 of them, to be exact. Suppose that we value one hour at $20 (a conservative estimate). If so, the government imposes an annual reporting cost of more than $180 billion on the American people.

That figure is more than 20 times last year’s budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, more than seven times that of the Department of Agriculture, and more than six times that of the Department of State.

Substance or Politics: What Dictates Obama’s Regulatory Agenda?

From: RegBlog

Stuart Shapiro

In a recent critique of the Obama Administration’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Lisa Heinzerling argues that a lack of transparency at OIRA, the federal office that reviews regulations, has allowed the office to pursue an anti-regulatory agenda, stifling regulations designed to protect public health.

Heinzerling, former Associate Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Policy during President Obama’s first term, offers a portrait of environmental policy in the current administration that is strikingly at odds with perceptions in both the business community and the Republican Party.

Cass Sunstein on what law professors don’t get about government

From: FierceGovernment

By Zach Rausnitz

Outsiders underestimate how valuable the notice-and-comment piece of the rulemaking process is for government agencies, Cass Sunstein, the former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration, said April 5.

Among law professors, “it’s long been thought that the process of notice and  comment is basically kabuki theater,” said Sunstein, himself a law professor for  decades before heading up OIRA and who has since returned to academia. “That administrative-law sophisticated wisdom, it couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said at a Brookings Institution event.

Regulatory Moneyball

From: Foreign Affairs

What Washington Can Learn From Sports Geeks      

By Cass R. Sunstein

Chances are that you will never hear a crowd at a protest rally chant, “What do we need? Regulation! When do we need it? Now!”

People want safe food, clean air, and clean water. But in the abstract, regulation is never a popular idea. In a tough economic environment, it might seem like a recipe for disaster. In the United States, businesses large and small have long argued that they are subject to excessive red tape and government oversight, and in the context of a serious recession, that concern has become acute. In light of the country’s general enthusiasm for freedom of choice, regulation is particularly vulnerable to political attack.