Senate Approves Trump’s Regulatory Chief

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said he looks forward to working with Rao to reduce the burden of regulations. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said he looks forward to working with Rao to reduce the burden of regulations. Flickr user Gage Skidmore

The Senate on Monday approved President Trump’s controversial nominee to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The vote to clear George Mason University law professor Neomi Rao was 54-41.

Rao, who founded a free-market-oriented Center for the Study of the Administrative State at the university in northern Virginia, is expected to continue Trump’s push to ease what advocates see as burdensome regulations. Progressive groups have criticized her for accepting funding from the Koch brothers and for her skepticism about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he applauded his colleagues’ vote. “We can all agree that federal regulations should achieve their aim without imposing unnecessary costs on the country’s economy and job creators,” he said. “I look forward to working with Professor Rao to reduce the burden of regulations -- by our best estimates as high as $2 trillion a year -- that weigh on the American economy.”

Robert Weissman, president of the liberal-leaning Public Citizen, said last month, “We need someone in the position of OIRA administrator who believes that federal agencies play a vital role in protecting the public. Professor Neomi Rao, evidently, does not. Instead, it is clear that Trump appointed her to defang regulatory agencies, gut regulatory protections and give corporations a free hand to pollute and pilfer, poison and profiteer.”

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(Image via Flickr user Gage Skidmore)

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