The AFL-CIO has asked the White House Office of Management and Budget to recall the administration’s rule rolling back workplace injury reporting requirements because the labor federation’s request to meet with administration officials was ignored before OMB approved the final regulation last week.
AFL-CIO health and safety director Peg Seminario requested a 12866 meeting with OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on December 19, before the government shutdown began. Following the announcement that OIRA had rushed to clear the final regulation last week, Seminario sent an email to OIRA stating that she was “surprised and disturbed to see that review of deregulatory actions is apparently considered an essential function, but involving the public in this process is not.”
I was surprised and disturbed to see that review of deregulatory actions is apparently considered an essential function, but involving the public in this process is not. — Peg Seminario, AFL-CIO
Seminario renewed her earlier request for a meeting and asked “that OMB recall the draft OSHA rule until this meeting occurs.”
Executive Order 12866 (which governs OMB review of regulations) authorizes the agency to meet with stakeholders “in order to ensure greater openness, accessibility, and accountability in the regulatory review process.” Requests for meetings are almost never denied or ignored. Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, told Politico that “though OIRA is not required to host such meetings by law, ‘it serves a purpose in informing OIRA of the views of impacted stakeholders, and is the only means the public has of participating in the OIRA review process.'”
In December, OSHA rushed the final rule into OIRA review ahead of schedule and OIRA approved the final rule in record time as well. Although OIRA is affected by the shutdown, “The agency rulemaking process continues for funded or excepted agencies” like OSHA, according to Bloomberg.
But OIRA can’t have it both ways. If the shutdown makes OIRA unable to conduct 12866 meetings, then how is OIRA able to muster the resources to fast-track a regulatory rollback?
As Seminario observed, it’s surprising and disturbing.
Although, in this administration, maybe just disturbing. We’ve about lost the ability to be surprised by anything these guys do.