President Obama issued an order on Jan 30 signaling his desire to improve the manner in which the Office of Management and Budget reviews federal agencies’ regulatory initiatives.  In his Memorandum to Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, the President noted:

“For well over two decades, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the OMB has reviewed Federal regulations.  …The fundamental principles and structures governing contemporary regulatory review were set out in Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993.   A great deal has been learned since that time.  …Years of experience have also provided lessons about how to improve the process of regulatory review.  In this time of fundamental transformation, that process—and the principles governing regulation in general—should be revisited.”

 President Obama is asking Peter Orszag the OMB chief to prepare within 100 days a set of recommendations for a new Executive Order on regulatory review.  The President’s memorandum says that Mr. Orszag should consult with “representatives of regulatory agencies, as appropriate.”  Among the issues the President expects Mr. Orszag to consider are:

  • “suggestions for the relationship between OIRA and the agencies”;
  • “guidance on disclosure and transparency”;
  • “suggestions on the role of cost-benefit analysis;”
  • “the role of distributional considerations, fairness, and concern for the interests of future generations”; and
  • “the role of behavorial sciences in formulating regulatory policies.”

Read the full-text of the President’s memorandum here.

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