Will OIRA Review Independent Agency Regulations?
Editor’s Note: See, A Blueprint for OMB Review of Independent Agency Regulations.
A year in, Trump’s rule rollback isn’t as dramatic as he claims. But a radical experiment is underway.
By DANNY VINIK
Then there are bigger reforms that the administration could consider, such as overhauling the 1993 executive order that sets the basic guidelines for federal rulemaking. Experts on both right and left largely support the directive, a big reason why it hasn’t been withdrawn over the past 25 years, but Rao and her team could look to update it. They could also try to expand their control of Washington by forcing independent agencies to send their rules to OIRA for review, as the cabinet agencies must do. This would amount to a significant power grab: Some of the most powerful agencies in Washington are independent, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Reserve. During her time as a law professor at George Mason, Rao was a big proponent of institutionalizing greater White House control over the independent agencies, and experts have been watching closely for signs she’ll make moves in that direction.
Rao declined on record to say if she is looking to do so. [UPDATE: After publication, an an OIRA spokesperson said in an email that they are “considering and thinking about changes to oversight of independent agencies. It’s no secret. Administrator Rao has publicly stated numerous times.”] For now, Rao said in the interview, her mission is to improve the rulemaking process and attempt to cement the administration’s regulatory reforms so they extend beyond Trump’s presidency. “We are trying to do this in a way that is responsible and fair and consistent with the law,” she said. “It takes time. We’re doing it in a way that is consistent with long-standing principles.”