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Press Releases :: February 4, 2009

Miller Applauds President Obama’s Revocation of Bush-Era Executive Order on Regulatory Review

Washington, D.C. –Chair of the Subcommittee on Investigation and Oversight Brad Miller (D-NC) applauded President Barack Obama’s decision to revoke Bush Executive Order 13422.

Chairman Miller held two oversight hearings, on February 13, 2007 and April 26, 2007, on President Bush’s Executive Order 13422 before its implementation. 

Executive Order 13422 revised President Clinton’s Executive Order 12866, which addressed the role of Federal agencies in regulation.  Executive Order 13422 increased the power of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review any regulatory guidance, not just major regulations.  It created a new requirement of “market failure” for any agency to promulgate any regulation, which meant determining if private markets could correct a social problem, like pollution, on their own, before deciding if government involvement was necessary.  Also, a Bush political appointee in each agency would be empowered to stop agencies from even beginning a move towards regulation.  And the order required agencies to compose annual summaries of the cumulative costs of proposed regulations.  The cumulative effect of President Bush’s Executive Order 13422 was to create barriers to the regulatory process used to protect public health and safety.   

Chairman Miller concluded from the hearings that, under the Bush order, political appointees would be able to dictate health and safety decisions at federal agencies from behind closed doors, even if impartial scientific experts decided otherwise. Chairman Miller also concluded the Executive Order was an avenue for special interests to slow down and alter federal regulations prior to their publication.  By giving political appointees a de-facto veto over the regulatory process, E.O. 13422 prevented independent federal agencies charged with protecting the public from acting independently.

“While the President’s order on Guantanamo Bay may get more of the national spotlight, his decision to rollback this Bush Executive Order is just as important to restoring open government and Constitutional separation of powers,” said Miller.

In 2007, following the Subcommittee’s investigation, Chairman Miller offered an amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations Bill that would have prevented E.O. 13422 from taking effect.  The amendment passed the House unanimously. However, the Bush White House threatened to veto the bill, and it was not considered by the Senate.  

Chairman Miller discussed the importance of repealing this executive order with the Obama transition team in December of 2008.

"President Obama's decision to revoke the Bush Executive Order keeps political operatives from squelching scientists in federal agencies in secret and with no accountability to anyone,” said Miller.  “Democracy dies behind closed doors, and President Obama opened a door that President Bush closed.”

For more information, please see the Committee’s website.




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