OMB tries to lessen the cumulative burden of regulations

Obama administration officials have given agencies some thoughts on avoiding unnecessary regulations. A new directive from the Office of Management and Budget seeks to encourage agencies to consider the cumulative effects of new rules on agencies. Rules that each do something good can be, when added together, burdensome or conflicting, Cass Sunstein, administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote on the OMBlog March 20.

In a memo issued March 20, officials directed agencies to:

  • Talk with affected groups before issuing a proposed rule to find any potential overlap.
  • Get the public involved to get its input on a rule’s effects.
  • Send out requests for information and advanced notices of a coming proposed rule before issuing that rule.

“It should be clear that a central goal of today’s effort is to promote early consultation,” Sunstein wrote. “Agencies will be reaching out to the public to promote that goal.”

When thinking about a new regulation, agencies should also think broadly:

  • Consider the effects on small businesses, a particular concern of OMB officials.
  • Integrate and simplify new and existing rules with an aim toward eliminating redundancy.
  • Make a package of proposed rules with similar content and requirements that affect one sector and coordinate the timing of their release, so as to increase net benefits.
  • Think about the interactive and overarching effects of multiple regulations affecting individual sectors. It should be part of agencies’ retrospective analysis of existing rules.

“Taken in isolation, a new rule may seem perfectly sensible, but it may overlap with existing requirements,” Sunstein wrote.

On January 18, 2011, President Barack Obama ordered a government review of existing rules. Agencies are to assess costs and benefits and seek broad participation from industry, consumers, scientists and other stakeholders at each step of the regulatory process.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Wed, Mar 21, 2012

Give me a break! In over 30 years of Federal Service, I've never seen any bureacracy lessened!

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group