August 10, 2015

OIRA: The Cockpit of the Regulatory State

The regulatory state continues to expand. Which entity in the government has the stature, position and expertise to oversee the regulatory state? There is only one such organization—the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)—in the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Scholars of the regulatory state have opined that OIRA is the most significant institutional feature of the regulatory state. The concept of an OIRA—centralized regulatory review—was first explored by the Johnson Administration and put into operation under the Nixon Administration. Every subsequent Administration not only endorsed OIRA but enhanced its authorities and responsibilities. The academic community and its many disciplines may make a significant contribution to the operation of this important organization by providing analyses of its effectiveness and ways to improve its operations by submitting comments through the mechanisms below and to the right of this post.

In addition, and most importantly, academic institutions can teach students the nuts and bolts of the regulatory process, including commenting on proposed rules through Subsequent to filing the comments the students could review the comments of others, prepare analyses of them and post their comments on one of the discussion forums provided by CRE. At a latter stage they could forward their comments to OIRA when they review the rule.

The students can prepare for such participation by examining a range of issues set forth in the OIRA Teaching  Module website. The aforementioned document, the OIRA Teaching Module, is a collection of the thoughts of many individuals to achieve the aforementioned goal.  A teaching module is a course outline often augmented my notes.

CRE is promoting the creation of OIRA Teaching Modules in order to garner a greater appreciation for, and involvement in, the important work performed by OIRA. One legal scholar has stated: “A single private meeting with the head of an agency or the head of OIRA may have a greater impact on the outcome of a rulemaking exercise than ten thousand pages of technical data and analysis”.

The OIRA Teaching Module is not a static document; contributors post suggestions on a continual basis and all such suggestions are available to all members of the public for review.

We ask that all of our readers encourage currently enrolled college students to post White Papers on the topics so outlined in the module. In particular, students in political science, public policy, public administration, law and economics are requested to participate.

In those instances where students do not have a White Paper but wish to share thoughts with like minded individuals they may post their statements on this page.

There are a wide range of issues to be addressed and they will change through time. Currently three of the most pressing are:

1.  Restore OIRA’s staff level to its original level of 90.

2.  Subjecting Independent Agencies to Centralized Regulatory Review

3.  Developing a Mechanism to Control the Cumulative Cost of Regulations

Questions and Comments

1 Comment »

  1. Raymond Micallef says:

    One mechanism in controlling costs is to initiate goal oriented approaches rather than bureaucracy. Groups or agencies should work with a vision and real constraints and with the confidence that once a project or program is achieved that there will be other tasks. We have to be progressive with people that not only have the skills to execute but the desire. Highly engaged teams are needed! We can no longer look as agencies as a “cash for life” career option but rather a place that has a project to complete and something to achieve before the next challenge is presented. The outcome would be great and cheaper even if we had to pay players double! Where a market can exist it should. The fair price will be the outcome. Where it cannot, than redefine the fair rate of return to today’s investment numbers. Just some thoughts.

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