Report Finds Regulatory Process Changes Stalled at Midterm Point of Obama Administration

-For Immediate Release-
January 6, 2011

Contact: Brian Gumm, (202) 683-4812,

Report Finds Regulatory Process Changes Stalled
at Midterm Point of Obama Administration

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011—Today, OMB Watch released the third and final report in a series on public protections and the Obama administration. The new report, The Obama Approach to Public Protection: The Regulatory Process, finds that although the Obama administration's overall regulatory philosophy is strikingly different from that of the previous administration, promised changes to the federal regulatory process have stalled out.

Rick Melberth, Director of Regulatory Policy at OMB Watch, said, "What we found in putting together this report and the previous two reports in this series is that the Obama administration is far more serious than its predecessor in protecting the public and crafting workable regulations and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard people and the environment."

The administration's progress is due in large part to the appointment of qualified and dedicated individuals to lead regulatory agencies and an early commitment to restoring budgets that had suffered years of cuts, the report finds. The report also notes that the administration has made progress on government openness and scientific integrity policies that should prove beneficial to regulatory transparency and the key role that science should play in crafting public protections.

However, Melberth noted, "The transformative change to the regulatory process promised at the beginning of the Obama administration has not yet become a reality."

Melberth elaborated on this key shortcoming at the Obama administration's midterm point. "Obama has thus far failed to issue a new executive order on the regulatory process that could dramatically change the relationship between the White House, specifically the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), and federal regulatory agencies," he said. "Although OIRA now allows agencies more discretion than in years past, the process agencies have to navigate to protect the public is still far too cumbersome," he added.

The Obama Approach to Public Protection: The Regulatory Process is available in PDF and browser-based e-book formats at The previous reports, one on rulemaking and the other on enforcement of public protections, are available through a centralized page, located at

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OMB Watch is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting government accountability, citizen participation in public policy decisions, and the use of fiscal and regulatory policy to serve the public interest. Find OMB Watch on Facebook and Twitter.

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