Information Collection Requests up for Expiration
Normally, when agencies have pending paperwork requests at OIRA that do not get reviewed by the expiration date, approval for one year is inferred under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).
OMB Watch recently reported on a regulatory hit list compiled by industry with the help of Barbara Kahlow, an aide for Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA) The list was compiled from information collection requests (ICRs), also called paperwork requests, that agencies must submit to the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for approval every three years. Potentially, OIRA could disapprove or revise an information collection request, leaving the associated regulation unenforceable, even if that regulation has been on the books for years. When the "list of 57" came out, we reported that 2 of the ICRs had already expired and 7 would be expiring in the next 6 months -- 3 of these were due to expire at the end of last year.
Normally, when agencies have pending paperwork requests at OIRA that do not get reviewed by the expiration date, approval for one year is inferred under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). Recently, however, OIRA explained to OMB Watch that the existing delay of government mail is interfering with agencies' submissions arriving to OIRA on time, so OIRA is extending expiration dates by a month each time it fails to meet the deadline and agencies are to continue working under the current ICR approval. It is unclear how long the temporary approval will last.
At least three paperwork requests, two of which were on the "list of 57," have had their expiration dates extended. OMB Watch noticed that at least three ICRs due to expire on December 31, 2001 had their expiration dates pushed back to January 31, 2002, and will presumably be extended yet again to February 28, 2002, though as of February 4, the expiration dates on those ICRs in OIRA's Inventory of Approved Information Collections database were still January 31, 2002. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) sewage sludge ICR (OMB No. 2040-0004), the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) ICR for an application to market a new drug (OMB No. 0910-0001), and the Department of Labor's (DOL) ICR for a blood-borne pathogen/needlestick safety standard (OMB No. 1218-0246) are among those being postponed at OIRA. OMB Watch will continue to monitor the ICRs on the list of 57 and others to determine what actions OIRA might be taking to rollback important environmental, health, and safety regulations.