The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”), Howard Shelanski, assures that the incoming Trump administration will find a tidy and smooth-sailing regulatory review process in place. OIRA, a branch of the Executive Office of the President, reviews regulations drafted by agencies before they are finalized and published in the Federal Register. Although Trump is entitled to appoint heads of agencies, the overwhelming number of employees within departments such as OIRA are career staff that do not change with administrations, allowing for continuity.
Who will head OIRA next, you ask? Trump hasn’t decided quite yet, but Shelanski says that the Administrator’s role within the agency will be contingent on the regulatory posture of the Trump Administration and how much independence executive branch agencies will have.
Shelanski says the next leader of OIRA could have some potential muscle because of the possibility to obtain full support by the president to either stop rules or require changes to them. The Trump Administration’s likely deregulatory and/or anti-regulation stance will ramp up the review process, which would create obstacles for the approval of rules and, in turn, encourage agencies to make changes to their rules. Therefore, the OIRA Administrator may have leverage not only in slowing or blocking the review of rules, but also in directing agencies to revise them.