OIRA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, located in the White House Office of Management and Budget, is often referred to as the “most important office you never heard of.”
Why? Because it is the office that must review all significant regulations issued by all federal agencies before they become legally binding on the American public; in essence, it is the “cockpit” of the regulatory state.
One can only imagine that the office is often maligned, sometimes by the left and sometimes by the right.
OIRA has been in operation for some 35 years and has been the foundation for regulatory oversight in eight consecutive administrations. However, when a new administration enters office, one of its early initiatives is to review the charter of OIRA. In the past these reviews at times centered on whether the office should continue to have the authority to review the regulations issued by agencies before they are published in the Federal Register.
After eight administrations, we believe that matter has been resolved. What is needed, however, is for OIRA to be given a broader mission than it has had heretofore. That said, such a broadening of its mission will not occur without OIRA having a national constituency; it most certainly does not have one at the present time.
CRE has been working for a number of years to develop such a constituency for OIRA with its primary emphasis on a “bottoms-up-strategy,” which focuses on educating students of law, political science, public policy, public administration and economics on the functions performed by OIRA.
Without a doubt, these groups are important to OIRA’s future, but more importantly, we have learned that a latent and untapped reservoir of support for OIRA is within the independent voters of America.
CRE appreciates IVN providing an open platform to present our views on the important role of OIRA.
About the Author: Jim Tozzi served as a regulatory official in five presidential administrations starting with Lyndon Johnson and ending with Ronald Reagan. He is presently the head of the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness.