Commentary Archive

Susan E. Dudley

Countdown To Midnight On The President's Regulatory Priorities

January 26, 2016

By Susan E. Dudley
1/26/15 - Regulatory activity tends to surge in the final year of a presidential administration. Significant legislation from Congress is unlikely, and regulations are one of the few tools available for outgoing executive branch officials wanting to leave a legacy. The last three months in particular have historically seen a flurry of “midnight regulation” before a new president is sworn in. In an effort to get ahead of that rush, OIRA Administrator Howard Shelanski recently sent a memo to executive agencies asking them to adhere to their regulatory agendas. As past experience shows, however, controlling midnight regulations can be an uphill battle.

Sofie E. Miller

Looking Ahead to Regulation in 2016

January 20, 2016

By Sofie E. Miller
1/20/16 - Although Congress will not likely enact new legislation in President Obama’s final year in office, regulatory agencies are a different matter. Federal agencies like DOE, EPA, FDA, and OSHA plan to issue several important final rules in 2016, including new energy efficiency standards, e-cigarette rules, and exposure levels for crystalline silica. This commentary examines some of the most noteworthy regulatory actions to expect from federal agencies in 2016.

Daniel R. Pérez

President Obama’s Regulatory Output: Looking Back at 2015 and Ahead to 2016

January 12, 2016

By Daniel R. Pérez
1/12/16 - In 2015, President Obama’s executive agencies issued 62 economically significant rules—those defined in Executive Order 12866 as likely to have “an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more,” making last year the second most active regulatory year of his presidency. Many of these rules focused on his regulatory priorities. This commentary looks back at the number of regulations published in 2015 and ahead to 2016, evaluating the President’s activity in the context of regulatory output of previous administrations.

Brian Mannix

Are Chemical Risk Assessment and Benefit-Cost Analysis Compatible?

January 06, 2016

By Brian Mannix
1/6/16 - Executive Order 12866 requires benefit-cost analyses for all regulations; in many cases these economic analyses rely upon risk assessment for critical inputs. Usually this is not a problem; in principle, risk assessment and benefit-cost analysis are perfectly compatible. But benefit-cost analysis and chemical risk assessment have not had a happy history together. The problem can be traced to some specific practices that historically have characterized chemical risk assessments, and that are widely accepted within that community.