Vote Explanation for H.R. 1009 — OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) was established in 1980. This agency is tasked with reviewing draft proposed and final regulations, as well as developing and overseeing the implementation of government-wide policies in the areas of information policy, privacy, and statistical policy.

This legislation would bar agencies from issuing rules with significant economic effects unless OIRA determined the agency took certain required actions, such as assessing costs and benefits, considering alternatives, and minimizing the burden on businesses and local governments. The bill essentially codifies an Executive Order issued by President Clinton intended to encourage more careful cost-benefit analyses when implementing regulations.

Under the bill, OIRA would have broad authority to determine if a rule or regulatory action is significant and therefore subject to enhanced review if the rule meets any of the following criteria: it would have a $100 million impact on the economy; it affects productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety or state, local or tribal governments; it interferes with another agency action; it changes budgetary effect of entitlements, grants, user fees or loan programs; or if it raises new legal or policy issues.

However, as written, this legislation departs from the Executive Order by requiring independent agencies like the CFPB, SEC, FCC, and CPSC to obtain clearance from the White House before issuing significant rulemakings. Additionally, the the bill would allow OIRA to hold up agency rulemakings indefinitely by invoking unlimited extensions of review deadlines.

I voted against H.R. 1009, the OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act, which is yet another Republican attempt to undermine the regulatory process by imposing new — frankly duplicative — requirements and by limiting the autonomy of independent agencies to issue regulations.