Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

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Office of Information
and Regulatory Affairs
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • Office of Regulatory and Information Policy
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Agency executive
Parent agencyOffice of Management and Budget
WebsiteOfficial Website

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA /ˈrə/ oh-EYE-rə) is a United States Government office established in 1980 within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), an agency in the Executive Office of the President. The OIRA oversees the implementation of government-wide policies and reviews draft regulations.


OIRA reviews requests it receives from federal agencies to collect information from the public. It develops and oversees the implementation of government-wide policies in the areas of information technology, information policy, privacy, and statistical policy.

OIRA reviews draft rules and regulations under Executive Orders 12866 from 1993 and 13563 from 2011. Executive Order 12866 describes OIRA's role in the rulemaking process and directs agencies, to follow certain principles, such as consideration of alternatives and analysis of impacts, both benefits and costs. OIRA reviews draft regulations to ensure agency compliance with this executive order.

History and jurisdiction[edit]

Cost/benefit analysis -- Executive Order 12866 and its predecessors[edit]

Presidential regulatory principles and the centralized review of draft regulations had been part of U.S. regulatory development for decades. President Nixon's "Quality of Life" program involved such review, and President Ford's Executive Order 11821 in 1974 required agencies to prepare inflation/economic impact statements.

A predecessor office had existed at Office of Management and Budget, OMB, an agency within the Executive Office of the President for many years; from 1977 to 1981, it was briefly at the Department of Commerce. It continued with President Jimmy Carter's Executive Order 12044 on "Improving Government Regulations."

Paperwork Reduction Act, 1981[edit]

The Congress passed the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (Pub.L. 96–511) and its successor, the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub.L. 104–13), that established OIRA in the OMB.

The OMB review process became more formalized in 1981 with President Ronald Reagan's Executive Order 12291. During his administration, the White House had reviewed 2,000 to 3,000 regulations per year.[1] It continued during the George H. W. Bush Administration and the first nine months of the Clinton administration.

In September 1993, President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 12866, and the total dropped to between 500 and 700 annually.[1] The executive order states OIRA should focus on "economically significant" rules.[2] Of the 500 to 700 rules reviewed by OIRA annually, about 100 have been classified as "economically significant".[1] In 1995, the Paperwork Reduction Act was updated.

In January 2007, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13422, which changed the rules as of July 24, 2007.[3] The Executive Order covers federal agencies' "guidance documents", in addition to regulations. Its stated purpose was to ensure that agencies comply with the regulatory principles stated in Executive Order 12866 and that the President's policies are reflected in agency rules. It also specified procedures for the resolution of conflicts between or among agencies. In July 2007, controversy arose in the U.S. Congress over this order giving the OIRA additional powers.[3] The House of Representatives voted to prohibit OIRA from spending federal money on Executive Order 13422.[3]

In January 2011, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13563 to improve regulation and regulatory review.

OIRA guides and coordinates agencies with respect to Circular A4, Information Quality Guidelines, and the Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices.[citation needed]


The office has five branches:

  1. Food, Health, and Labor Branch
  2. Information Policy Branch
  3. Natural Resources and Environment Branch
  4. Statistical & Science Policy Branch
  5. Transportation and Security Branch

From 2001 to March 2006, OIRA was headed by John D. Graham, who departed to accept the deanship of the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The OIRA Administrator from September 2009 to August 21, 2012 was Cass Sunstein, who was succeeded by Acting Director Boris Bershteyn. In April 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Howard A. Shelanski[4] who started in June 2013 and served until the end of the Administration in January 2017. On April 7, 2017, the Trump Administration nominated Neomi Rao to serve as OIRA Administrator.[5]


A 2011 report from the Center on Progressive Reform stated that in 10 years, OIRA altered 84 percent of EPA rule submissions. The EPA's new rules on ozone pollution developed since September 2009, rolled out as tougher draft standards in January 2010, were repeatedly delayed.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Curtis W. Copeland. 2009. Federal Rulemaking: The Role of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Congressional Research Service.
  2. ^ Executive Order 12866
  3. ^ a b c Abrams, Jim (July 4, 2007). "House Balks at Bush Order for New Powers". Associated Press. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  4. ^ Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate, April 25, 2013, White House archive.
  5. ^ President Donald J Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts Archived 2017-04-08 at the Wayback Machine., April 7, 2017, White House.
  6. ^ Sheppard, Kate (2 November 2011). "Obama to Breathers: Sorry, Wait Until 2013". Mother Jones. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  7. ^ Rogers, Heather (July 31, 2014). "Lobbyists Bidding to Block Government Regs Set Sights on Secretive White House Office". ProPublica. Archived from the original on August 1, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014.

External links[edit]