Circular Reasoning?

May 25, 2023

Originally published in the Yale JREG Notice & Comment blog

For almost 30 years, federal regulatory agencies have conducted analysis pursuant to President Clinton’s Executive Order 12866, which each successive president has endorsed and supplemented. Last month, President Biden continued that practice in issuing E.O. 14094, which reaffirms E.O. 12866, albeit with some potentially significant procedural changes that I’ve discussed elsewhere. At his direction, OMB also released a revised draft of Circular A-4, which, for 20 years, has guided regulatory impact analysis under E.O. 12866. 

I marvel at the continuity and durability of the principles and procedures for regulatory analysis and review in the United States. Presidents can, and often do, rescind their predecessors’ executive orders with the stroke of a pen, yet E.O. 12866 has survived through five dramatically different presidencies. Circular A-4 is also a bipartisan success story. Issued in 2003, it built on the Clinton administration’s “Economic Analysis of Federal Regulations Under Executive Order No. 12866,” which in turn had its basis in the “Regulatory Impact Analysis Guidance” published in 1992.

Read More