by John Morrall
October 03, 2013
The Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) should focus on its traditional mission of being a “watchdog” for the public, including citizens not yet born, seeking and attempting, if possible, to mitigate any unintended consequences of agency actions. Even a well-functioning process is not likely to produce good regulations absent a strong advocate for the broad public interest in the rulemaking process or an independent ability to verify agency claims. The incentives and pressures applied to agencies create an ever-present risk of decision-making influenced more by politics and preferences than by the objective analysis focused on problem-solving that OIRA and OMB have traditionally been advocates for. An effective OIRA needs more of the right staff members—individuals trained in benefit-cost analysis and risk assessment—and more time to evaluate economically significant rulemakings.