Lankford Subcommittee Examines Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

WASHINGTON, DC – The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, under the chairmanship of Senator James Lankford (R-OK), held a hearing Thursday to examine the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the federal regulatory process. The hearing was entitled, “Reviewing the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ Role in the Regulatory Process” and included OIRA Administrator Howard Shelanski as the sole witness.

Created in 1980 by Congress, OIRA is part of the Office of Management and Budget and coordinates regulatory review for the President. The hearing explored OIRA’s ability to leverage its role in the federal rulemaking process to improve certain agency regulatory actions and facilitate greater transparency. The Subcommittee also focused on the importance of OIRA’s role in ensuring the integrity of cost-benefit analysis as part of its key role in executive oversight and concerns about agency non-compliance with OIRA review.

“Due to its centralized role in overseeing agency rulemaking, OIRA is uniquely positioned to ask agencies tough questions and make a drastic change in the way the federal government’s regulatory process currently operates,” said Lankford. “It’s important that the agency devotes appropriate time to perform robust cost-benefit analysis on regulations. Ensuring that the benefits of any regulation exceed its costs is an essential component to regulatory analysis. It’s important that our Executive Branch is promulgating regulation in a fair way. If one side of the cost-benefit analysis is 20 years and the other side may go out sixty years, that’s literally putting your thumb on the scale on one side, and there’s not a perception of fairness. This hearing provided a valuable dialogue on how OIRA reviews between 500 and 700 rules annually and I am hopeful that the Senate can work with the Office to ensure our regulatory process remains fair.” 

In March, Lankford and Subcommittee Ranking Democrat Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) launched the bipartisan #CutRedTape Initiative, a new way for American families and businesses to communicate with the U.S. Senate about how federal regulations impact them.