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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

OMB Firm on Obligation of Agencies to Comply with its Data Quality Guidelines
OMB's Administrator of OIRA issued a memorandum for all federal agencies pointing out a number of areas in which agency draft guidelines did not appear to be consistent with the OMB guidelines. The memorandum emphasized that agencies need to "commit" to standards which are either the same as those in the OMB guidelines or are consistent with them ( III). It also requested that agencies not insert statements in their guidelines suggesting that they were free to ignore the OMB guidelines ( V). CRE also notes, however, that the OIRA memorandum did not cite or quote the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 which provided the original legal basis for OMB's authority and the agencies' responsibility to comply with the OMB guidelines. The relevant statutory text is therefore provided below.

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    Language in FY 2001 Consolidated Appropriations Act referring to the Data Quality provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    Sec. 515. (a) In General. - The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall, by not later than September 30, 2001, and with public and Federal agency involvement, issue guidelines under sections 3504(d)(1) and 3516 of title 44, United States Code, that provide policy and procedural guidance to Federal agencies for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by Federal agencies in fulfillment of the purposes and provisions of chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, commonly referred to as the Paperwork Reduction Act. [Underlining added to indicate references to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 which are not in OMB's June 11 memorandum to agencies or its final data quality guidelines.]

    Provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 concerning the authority and responsibility of OMB regarding Data Quality referenced above in the Appropriations Act.

    3504. Authority and functions of the Director [of OMB]

    . . . "(d) With respect to information dissemination, the Director shall develop and oversee the implementation of policies, principles, standards, and guidelines to -

    (1) apply to Federal agency dissemination of public information, regardless of the form or format in which such information is disseminated . . . ."

    3516. Rules and regulations

    The Director shall promulgate rules, regulations, or procedures necessary to exercise the authority provided by this chapter.

    Provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 concerning agency responsibility to comply with the OMB Data Quality guidelines.

    3506. Federal agency responsibilities

    (a)(1) The head of each agency shall be responsible for -

    . . . (2) complying with the requirements of this chapter and related policies established by the Director.