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The Perils of OIRA Regulatory Review

Reforms Needed to Address Rampant Delays and Secrecy

June 12, 2012 — A small but powerful White House agency that reviews proposed regulations consistently takes an anti-regulatory posture, but its true impact cannot be discerned because the agency is shrouded in secrecy, a new Public Citizen report concludes. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which resides within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, delays and blocks many proposed health, safety and environmental standards. It has a time frame in which it is supposed to review new rules – 90 days, set by an executive order issued by President Bill Clinton. But it suffers no consequences if it misses that deadline.

As of May, 51 rules had been under review by OIRA for more than a year, while 87 rules had been under review for more than the 90-day limit. A full 23 rules have been under review since 2011, while three rules have been sitting at the agency since 2010. This year, the average review times has risen to 199 days, more than double the average review period of the Bush administration.

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