Pending Regs

Biden faces calls to implement Day 1 promise of regulatory reforms

A coalition of 63 groups is pushing the Biden administration to press ahead with regulatory reforms it promised on Inauguration Day but has thus far failed to roll out.

The Day 1 memo from President Biden stressed the need to value social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity and the needs of future generations just as much as the financial pros and cons when reviewing new regulations.

But — more than nine months later — the regulation to implement that vision has yet to drop as both the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) remain without Senate-confirmed directors.

“We are concerned, however, that the antiquated and biased system of regulatory review, as currently implemented by OMB and OIRA, risks becoming a barrier to continued progress on the administration’s future regulatory priorities that are designed to protect the American public,” the groups wrote in the letter spearheaded by the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards.

The letter was signed by a wide variety of groups, ranging from environmental organizations to good governance groups to various consumer advocates.

The Biden order stresses the need to “fully [account] for regulatory benefits that are difficult or impossible to quantify” and ensure that government action doesn’t “inappropriately burden disadvantaged, vulnerable, or marginalized communities.”

It was hailed by progressive groups when it was first released, who saw the order as a chance to shift away from a regulatory review process implemented under the Reagan administration.

They also saw it as a way to speed regulatory review, in which OIRA does a final checkup on rules promulgated by other agencies before they are finalized.

“Not only are reforms to fix such flaws long overdue, they will also enhance the quality of the administration’s regulatory decision-making and ensure that the OIRA regulatory review process advances regulatory policies that improve the lives of the American people,” the groups wrote in the letter. “We therefore urge the administration to begin this process immediately.”

An OMB spokesperson said work on the executive order was still underway.

“We appreciate the widespread support for the President’s goal of modernizing the regulatory review process, and look forward to sharing updates on that work soon. While this work proceeds, this Administration continues to take swift regulatory action on the President’s priorities, including containing the pandemic, powering our economic recovery, advancing equity, and combating climate change,” they said in a statement to The Hill.
 
— Updated at 3:26 p.m.
Tags Joe Biden regulations regulatory reform

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