The Obama Approach to Public Protection

This page contains all three reports in The Obama Approach to Public Protection series. The series assesses and examines actions, policies, and approaches to rulemaking, enforcement of public protections, and regulatory process reform since the beginning of the Obama administration.

  • The first report looks at the rulemaking activity of several key agencies in the executive branch at the administration's midterm point
  • The second report focuses on enforcement activity at agencies such as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • The third and final report examines efforts to reform the federal regulatory process during the first two years of the Obama administration and highlights both successes and failures in making the process more open, inclusive, and participatory

The Obama Approach to Public Protection: Rulemaking

Rulemaking is an essential function of government, but it is one that is often overlooked or underappreciated. Rulemaking agencies are tasked with implementing the laws Congress passes, and the ensuing regulations can extend protection or opportunity to consumers, workers, businesses and the environment, often in areas where it is needed most. Conversely, poor regulations, or a lack of regulations, can imperil society and sow the seeds of disaster. This is the first of three OMB Watch reports evaluating the Obama administration’s record on regulatory issues. This report covers health, safety, and environmental rulemaking at federal agencies during the Obama administration from January 2009 through August 2010.

Read the report.

The Obama Approach to Public Protection: Enforcement

President Barack Obama took office acknowledging weaknesses in regulation and arguing that special interests had taken control of the process. This report intends to determine whether the Obama administration has made progress in reinvigorating regulatory enforcement at the federal level. It focuses on three areas: worker safety and health, consumer safety and health, and environmental enforcement at federal agencies. This is the second of three OMB Watch reports evaluating the Obama administration’s record on regulatory issues.

Read the report.

The Obama Approach to Public Protection: The Regulatory Process

When Barack Obama took the oath of office in January 2009, the country faced problems unlike any the country had faced in generations. The economic system was near collapse. Each year, food-borne illnesses sickened millions, workplace hazards killed and injured thousands on the job, and air pollution triggered asthma attacks in millions of children and adults. Long procedural delays and political interference in the regulatory process caused deficits in safety and health standards, exacerbating these problems. This third and final report in the series examines efforts to address such delays and interference by focusing on the regulatory process, including transparency and participation, regulatory analysis, scientific integrity, and the role of the White House, especially the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in shaping the administration's record.

Read the report.

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