Capitol Correspondence - 04.18.23

President Biden Signs Executive Order to Modernize Regulatory Review Process and Promote Equity

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President Joe Biden has signed an executive order aimed at improving the regulatory review process. The order reiterates and supplements principles established in previous executive orders. It modifies the definition of “significant regulatory action” by increasing the annual effect on the economy threshold from $100 million to $200 million or more, with adjustments made every three years to account for changes in GDP. Additionally, any regulatory action that adversely affects the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, territorial, or tribal governments or communities can also be considered significant. 

The order highlights the importance of considering equity in the regulatory process. Input from interested or affected communities, State, local, territorial, and Tribal officials and agencies, interested or affected parties in the private sector and other regulated entities, those with expertise in relevant disciplines, and the public as a whole should inform regulatory actions. The aim is to promote equitable and meaningful public participation by a range of interested or affected parties, including underserved communities. 

The order also directs the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to explore ways to modernize the notice-and-comment process. OIRA is the federal government agency that oversees the regulatory process and reviews proposed regulations before they are implemented. The goal of modernizing this process is to address issues such as mass comments, comments generated by computers (such as those created by artificial intelligence), and comments that are falsely attributed. These issues can be tackled through the use of technological advancements.