This post was originally published as part of a symposium on ACSblog, the blog of the American Constitution Society. Reprinted with permission.
Presidents since Ronald Reagan have, by executive order, required agencies to submit significant regulatory actions to the White House for review. Academic and public interest observers have variously criticized this review as slow, opaque, chaotic, lawless, and power-grabbing. Yet every president in the intervening years has not only embraced but also deepened the control of the White House over individual regulations.
Even President Obama, who announced early in his first term that he was conducting a top-to-bottom review of this process, ultimately embraced strict White House control over the rulemaking proceedings of the executive agencies. President Trump has taken White House control over rules to a whole different dimension by ordering agencies to revoke two existing rules for every new rule they issue and by giving them "budgets" for the costs they may impose on private entities.
One way to address some of the recurring criticisms of White House review would be for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which runs the review process, to hew more closely to the actual provisions of the Clinton-era executive …