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Senator Lankford Questions Nominee to Lead Federal Regulatory Review Office

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today attended a hearing in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to consider the nomination of Mr. Paul J. Ray to be Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). As Chairman of the Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management and in his previous service on the House Oversight Committee, Lankford has worked with OIRA throughout his time in Congress to help streamline the federal regulatory process and make it more transparent and accessible to American small businesses.

Lankford asked Mr. Ray specifically about how, under his leadership, OIRA would ensure the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) is followed, which is an ongoing topic of his Federal Fumbles waste report, the fifth volume of which was released earlier this week.

Excerpt

(05:36 – 07:27) Lankford: This last Monday I released out an annual guide that I put out called Federal Fumbles. And it deals with just areas of waste and inefficiencies and puts some recommendations for how we can do things more efficiently. One of the things that drives me crazy is when an agency ends up in a law suit because they didn’t follow the Administrative Procedure Act. There’s a pretty straight-forward guideline of what has to be done from start to finish and when all the boxes haven’t been checked and we end up in lots of litigation over the promulgation of a rule or working through a guidance, then the taxpayer spends a ton of money in court trying to be able to process through this. What are you going to do to be able to make sure that for every regulation that goes through that all the boxes have been checked, that the taxpayer’s not spending more money on a court case—whether they win or lose it—just because the Administrative Procedure Act was not followed?

Mr. Ray: Thank you, Senator, for that question. I think one of OIRA’s central roles is to survey regulations across the government and to develop expertise in that central foundation of the regulatory process: the Administrative Procedure Act. And so while I was Acting Administrator, I would review regulations and work with my staff to review regulations to ensure that those regulations were compliant with the Administrative Procedure Act, and when they were not, I would direct that agencies be informed of that conclusion and that changes would be proposed to those regulations. And of course also OIRA circulates rules to the Department of Justice and other legal offices across the government for their expertise on that question as well. So I think keeping OIRA’s cross-government expertise in the Administrative Procedure Act strong is very important

Lankford: Yeah we can’t stop lawsuits, but we can make sure that when lawsuits are carried out, they’re not carried out and everything’s overturned on a regulation based on a mistake that everyone should have seen and had basic oversight on. So I appreciate you stepping up to be able to do this.

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