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OMB Papers

OMB Revives Use of Regulatory Return Letters Under Bush Administration
One useful tool available to OMB to ensure sound regulation is the Regulatory Return Letter, through which rules may be returned to an agency for further consideration. Issuance of a Return Letter does not necessarily indicate OMB opposition to the draft rule, but reflects a belief and explains why a given rulemaking may benefit from additional agency review. An OMB Return Letter may be warranted for a variety of reasons, inculding:

  • Inadequate quality of agency analyses related to the rule;
  • Regulatory standard(s) adopted under the rule are not justified by the agency's analyses;
  • Agency rule is not consistent with the principles of Executive Order 12866 or with the President's other policies and priorities;
  • Agency rule is not compatible with other statutes or Executive Orders.
  • Despite their potential to positively impact agency rulemaking activities, under the Clinton Administration, Return Letters fell out of use, with none being issued from 1996 to 2000. In contrast, the Bush Administration has revived use of this important regulatory mechanism, having issued 14 Return Letters since July 2001. CRE strongly supports use of Return Letters to ensure that federal agencies promulgate rules which are well-reasoned and in compliance with all relevant requirements.

  • Click to review the OMB Return Letters Issued in 2001.
  • Click to submit comment