OMB has stressed to agencies the role of its Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in overseeing agency rule-making under the Congressional Review Act, which requires agencies to notify Congress of rules they have issued and gives Congress an opportunity to act to block them.
That law requires that OIRA designate whether a rule is “major”–having an annual economic effect of $100 million or more, a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, industry or governments, or other significant impacts on economic activity. Such a designation triggers a report by GAO and a delayed effective date while Congress may consider whether it will disapprove the rule.
OMB memo M-19-14, which supersedes prior guidance, outlines a process for OIRA to make that determination, applying to “all final, interim final, and direct final rules, irrespective of whether a rule would otherwise be submitted for regulatory review.” The memo imposes a series of requirements on agencies including prior notice to OIRA of planned rules and an analysis of their potential impact, and describes standards OIRA will use in assessing whether the rules would meet the standards for being considered major.
The memo follows recent guidance in which OMB stressed to agencies their obligations to submit for its prior review various documents including budget materials, proposed legislation, testimony and program operating plans, and told them to coordinate in advance with OMB and the White House on media and legislative strategy.
WASHINGTON DC – JUNE 22, 2017 Old Executive Office Building Dwight Eisenhower Building, Vice President’s Office Washington DC. Located next to White House, built from 1871 to 1888 – Image