White House Moves to Gain More Control Over Federal Regulations

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The White House moved to exert greater control over the federal regulatory process by imposing additional scrutiny over independent government agencies when they establish new policies, guidelines or rules that affect large swaths of the economy. (According to the memorandum, proposals that have an effect of $100 million or more annually on the economy would be considered “major” and would require a review by Congress.) The new policy was laid out in a memorandum written by Russell Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. It broadens the scope of rules that would be subject to White House review and scrutiny by Congress through the Congressional Review Act. A senior administration official played down the scope of the memorandum, saying that it simply provided clarification that guidance documents were covered by Congressional Review Act statutes and needed to be reviewed to determine their economic effects.

OMB is also seeking comment on the possibility of slashing a decades-old rule that prevents US officials from making public statements about key government economic reports until one hour after their release. Top White House officials are briefed on key, market-sensitive statistics—like jobs numbers—before they are released. The OMB, in its notice, proposed that advances in information technology since the rule’s issuance in 1985 could merit a shorter time delay, or possibly no wait at all. Some economists say the rule is outdated in an era of instant communication. Others argue the rule is still needed to preserve the integrity of government economic news releases and to ensure the public’s views about them aren’t distorted by politics.


White House Moves to Gain More Control Over Federal Regulations OMB Proposes Slashing Waiting Period for Comments on Economic Reports (WSJ)