White House order starts process for improving, modernizing regulatory review

Producing a set of recommendations for improving and modernizing federal regulatory review was ordered by the new president Wednesday, with an aim of ensuring “swift federal action,” according to a memorandum issued by the White House.

The recommendations, according to the memo signed by President Joe Biden, “should provide concrete suggestions on how the regulatory review process can promote public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations.”

The memo was addressed to the heads of executive departments and agencies, including (presumably) the federal financial institution agencies.

The memo also called for proposals designed to ensure that regulatory review “serves as a tool to affirmatively promote regulations” that advance the values outlined. The memo also notes that recommendations should be informed by public engagement with relevant stakeholders.

More specifically, the memo said the recommendations should:

  • Identify ways to modernize and improve the regulatory review process;
  • Propose procedures that consider the “distributional consequences” of regulation (including in cost/benefit analysis) to ensure regulatory initiatives “appropriately benefit” and do not “inappropriately burden disadvantaged, vulnerable, or marginalized communities”;
  • Consider ways that the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) “can play a more proactive role in partnering with agencies to explore, promote, and undertake regulatory initiatives that are likely to yield significant benefits”;
  • Identify reforms to promote efficiency, transparency, and inclusiveness of the interagency review process, and determine an appropriate approach with respect to the review of guidance documents.

Modernizing Regulatory Review