The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs may be the most important group of bureaucrats many Americans have never heard of. But CPR's Member Scholars and staff keep careful watch on the office of the so-called "regulatory czar." Over the years, the office has come to play an increasingly destructive role in the regulatory process, weakening, gutting, and killing rules designed to protect health, safety and the environment. In this web article, James Goodwin lays out the case for a radical overhaul of OIRA's mission and methods.
Trump's New 'Regulatory Czar': Poised to Lead the Assault on Our Safeguards, CPR Paper 1701. The report by CPR Member Scholars Thomas McGarity, Amy Sinden, Rena Steinzor, and Robert Verchick, and CPR Senior Policy Analyst James Goodwin, examines Neomi Rao’s background and concludes the her modest record of “scholarship and other public statements reflect a deep distrust of federal agencies and their role as policymaking institutions within our constitutional system of government.”
The July 3, 2017, decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Clean Air Council v. Pruitt renewed interest in the many rules that the Trump administration has delayed. In response, CPR Member Scholar Rena Steinzor and University of Maryland law student Elise Desiderio prepared a chart listing and describing every rule for which a Federal Register notice was published announcing a delay in either the effective date or the compliance date or both. The delays listed involve postponements beyond July 14, 2017. The list covers the period from January 20, 2017 to July 14, 2017.
Letter from several CPR Member Scholars to White House Counsel re three ongoing violations of presidential executive orders by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs: 1) continuing review of agency guidance documents; 2) exceeding deadlines for completing reviews; 3) failing to disclose "before and after" documents allowing public scrutiny of OIRA revisions to rules
Letter to the Administrative Conference of the United States on science in the administrative process. "In particular, we are interested in the recommendations related to the role of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs [and its] ...failure to follow the transparency requirements of Executive Order 12,866 and its interference in matters that involve expert scientific judgment.
Letter from Robert Verchick and James Goodwin to the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law re the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Letter from Robert Verchick and James Goodwin to Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management re the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
David Driesen's July 6, 2016, testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law re OIRA's role and cost-benefit analysis.
In James Goodwin's article on the workings of cost-benefit analysis, he writes, "In cost-benefit analysis, small government ideologues and corporate interests have fashioned a powerful weapon for attacking regulatory safeguards and undercutting landmark laws. Much of that power derives from the elaborate mythology that its proponents have woven around the methodology over the course of the past four decades.... For its supporters, the real genius of the cost-benefit analysis myth is that it distracts from the fact that the methodology is in fact neither neutral nor objective."
Rebuilding our regulatory system is a key though often overlooked imperative for the broader progressive movement as it works to achieve its vision of a more equitable and just society. The rebuilding will ultimately require legislation, but considerable progress can be achieved through unilateral actions by the president, including executive orders. Building on its previous work to advance the cause of progressive regulatory reform, CPR is compiling on this page resources and materials that should inform the development of new executive orders for progressive regulation that would replace Executive Order 12866 and any subsequent executive orders and memoranda built on its framework.
In his latest article on the need for regulatory reform, James Goodwin writes that overhauling cost-benefit analysis is crucial to restoring scientific integrity. He writes, "blind-to-reality calculations are sadly commonplace in the practice of the unique form of cost-benefit analysis that now dominates in the U.S. regulatory system. Defenders of the approach claim that it makes regulatory decision-making more 'rational' and insulates the process against improper political or subjective considerations. Yet ... the methodological techniques this form of cost-benefit analysis uses can be arbitrary, unscientific, ethically dubious, and at times even absurd."