The Obama Administration’s OMB Director, Peter Orszag, recently announced upgrades to the RegInfo.gov website. In a February 16th posting on the White House website, Orszag stated that the administration was “debuting the OIRA Dashboard” – a website that “will allow people to track the progress of federal rules and regulations that have been submitted for interagency review and find other relevant information about the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).”
RegInfo.gov is not new, nor is the availability of data on federal regulatory actions that users can find there. Although Orszag called it the “OIRA Dashboard,” it is also not solely a creation of OIRA, an office within the White House OMB; rather it is a joint undertaking between OIRA and the General Services Administration’s Regulatory Information Service Center.
But RegInfo.gov does now provide new, easy-to-read graphical displays of data on OIRA proceedings reviewing proposed agency regulations. Orszag’s announcement declares that “the Dashboard democratizes the data.”
The process by which OIRA reviews proposed regulations issued by federal agencies is governed by Executive Order 12,866, which requires agencies to submit significant regulatory actions to OIRA for review before they can be issued. RegInfo.gov contains a useful and informative FAQ that explains this process.
Actions are considered significant under Executive Order 12,866 if they meet specific economic criteria (such as new rules that would impose annual costs greater than $100 million) or if they meet other general criteria (such as rules that would interfere with actions of other agencies or that would otherwise “raise novel legal or policy issues”). With the aid of the Dashboard’s new graphical display, users can readily see that nearly 90% of the agency rules currently under OIRA review (81 out of 91) have been submitted to OIRA for reasons other than their effects on the economy.