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Unfinished Business
Publication of the Obama Administration's Open Government Directive provides an opportunity to praise a substantial step forward in promoting regulatory transparency and also to highlight unfinished business, additional regulatory reform measures that are needed to enhance socioeconomic well-being.

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness has developed a list of over a dozen steps that should be undertaken to improve the quality federal regulations.

First, the Administration can and should order OMB review of regulations promulgated by independent agencies. As CRE demonstrated, OMB has the authority to review and comment on independent agency regulations. Regulations issued by agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve are too important to allow the agencies to avoid preparing the analyses that are required for centralized review of major and/or economically significant regulations.

Consistent with the Open Government Directive, OMB should revise Circular A-110 implementing the Data Access Act to provide the public with the transparency and data intended by Congress. Federally-funded research must be available to the taxpayers who paid for it.

To ensure Executive Branch respect for the separation of powers, the Administration should issue an Executive Order prohibiting agencies from participating in or otherwise supporting Regulation by Litigation, the use of the judiciary as an end run around the Legislative and Executive branches. Public policy needs to be made only through open, participatory processes, not through the closed, exclusionary judicial system.

The Administration and Congress are planning massive new regulatory measures including health care, financial system reform and climate change, each of which has the ability to reshape the American economy. Further regulatory reform measures are needed to help ensure that Executive Branch implementation of the expected outsized and unwieldy legislation does not leave the public behind.

See Unfinished Business

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