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Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), is an office of the United States Government that Congress established in the 1980 Paperwork Reduction Act. OIRA is located within the Office of Management and Budget, which is an agency within the Executive Office of the President. It is staffed by both poltical appointees and career civil servants, who have been carrying out the same kinds of economic analysis and related analyses for the past 20 years. In addition to reviewing draft regulations under Executive Order 12866, OIRA reviews collections of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act, and also develops and oversees the implementation of government-wide policies in the areas of information technology, information policy, privacy, and statistical policy.
Executive Order 12866 describes OIRA's role in the rulemaking process. In it, the President directs agencies, to the extent permitted by law, to follow certain principles in rulemaking, such as consideration of alternatives and analysis of impacts, both benefits and costs. As the Executive Order directs, OIRA reviews agency draft regulations before publication to ensure agency compliance with this Executive Order.
The current OIRA Administrator is Dr. John Graham. Prior to joining OMB as OIRA Administrator, Dr. Graham was a tenured professor of policy and decision sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health. In addition, Dr. Graham founded the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis which he ran for over ten years. The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis received significant financial support from both public and private sectors, disclosed this support publicly, operated with an independent scientific advisory committee, and published the majority of its studies in peer-reviewed journals.
The issuance of Presidential regulatory principles, and the centralized review of draft regulations, has been an accepted part of regulatory development for 30 years in one form or another. This began with President Nixon's "Quality of Life " program, and continued in the 1970s with President Ford's requirement in Executive Orders 11821 and 11949 for agencies to prepare inflation/economic impact statements and with President Carter's Executive Order 12044 on "Improving Government Regulations." The OMB review process became more formalized in 1981 with President Reagan's Executive Order 12291, which was in effect from 1981 to September 1993 (the Reagan and Bush Administrations and the first nine months of the Clinton Administration). In September 1993, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12866, which retained the OMB review process in essentially the same form, and the Executive Order 12866 process remains in effect today. The review process ensures that agencies, to the extent permitted by law, comply with the regulatory principles stated in Executive Order 12866 and that the President's policies are reflected in agency rules. It also serves to ensure adequate interagency review of draft rules, so that agencies coordinate their rules with other agencies to avoid inconsistent, incompatible, or duplicative policies.
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