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Regulatory Reform up for Debate

Photo: Matt H. Wade/Wikipedia

Following the release earlier this week of President Barack Obama’s Executive Order aiming to cut back on out-of-date and onerous federal agency regulations, the reviews from across the political sphere are coming in.

Inside the Beltway, there was a rare hint of bipartisanship for the proposal.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) who is seen by many as a political foe of the president on many issues, offered rare praise for Obama for “joining what must be an effort that stretches beyond ideological entrenchments to identify the regulatory impediments that have prevented real and sustained job growth in the private sector.”

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said Obama’s Executive Order represented a “balanced, common sense strategy specifically calibrated to encourage economic recovery.”

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, led by Cass Sunstein, will take the lead role in the regulatory review. Agencies will be tasked with looking back on regulations to determine if they are, in fact, still relevant.

“The provision that calls for the simplification and harmonization of rules is important because the executive branch large . .. there are a lot of agencies and sometimes rules issued by one agency may not square with one issued by another,” Sunstein told Federal News Radio. “The president is asking agencies to work together to try to harmonize, coordinate and simplify.”

In a post on the Office of Management and Budget blog, OMB Director Jack Lew said his agency will also play a central role in implementing the review because OMB acts as a clearinghouse for rules and regulations and oversees the analysis of them.

“With this EO,” Lew wrote, “there should be no confusion about what guides this administration when crafting regulations.”

According to his post, they are:

§  Considering costs and how best to reduce burdens for American businesses and consumers

§  Expanding opportunities for public participation

§  Seeking the most flexible, least burdensome approaches

§  Ensuring that regulations are scientifically driven

§  Reviewing old regulations so that rules which are no longer needed can be modified or withdrawn

Even with many federal agencies weeding out ineffective regulations, Lew said they still “play a necessary role in a fair and prosperous society.”

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