OMB Reports $22 Billion in Savings from Cutting Unnecessary Regulations
Procurement, management and regulatory chiefs launch dialog with colleges.
The White House budget office on Friday laid claim to a savings of $22 billion over the next five years from the Obama administration’s five-year-old “regulatory lookback,” designed to identify obsolete or burdensome regulations.
Howard Shelanski, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, reported on 179 specific efficiency improvements made since President Obama’s 2011 executive order on regulatory review. He teamed with Anne Rung, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and David Mader, controller and acting deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, in soliciting a dialogue with the nation’s colleges and universities to better streamline federal higher education grants.
Shelanski highlighted agency reports from July showing that two dozen rules or regulatory provisions were canceled as a result of the lookback.
For example, the Environmental Council of the States requested that the Environmental Protection Agency revise ineffective, yet costly, public notice requirements imposed on state and local authorities by some federal air permit regulations. Existing rules have led state and local permitting authorities to spend $9 million per year on newspaper notices that are rarely read and yield little public response—now they’re being posted on government websites.
The Army Corps of Engineers, he added, “is leading, in coordination with the Department of Transportation, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Homeland Security, to revise the permitting ‘Red Book.’ Once completed, this handbook revision will improve synchronization and reduce duplication for the various federal reviews and approvals typically required for transportation and other infrastructure projects.”
Examples of reductions in burdensome compliance requirements included the Commerce Department’s elimination of an unnecessary requirement for fishermen to file a weekly report when they did not fish during that week, which will eliminate an estimated 78,000 reports annually, Shelanski said.
And the Social Security Administration on Aug. 10 unveiled an online tool that will allow many beneficiaries to apply for replacement Social Security cards electronically. Not having to wait for the mail or go in-person to a regional office will save an estimated $78 million and 437,500 reporting hours total over the next five years, OMB reported.
On the higher education front, the OMB team announced a request for suggestions from academia for easing regulatory burdens on colleges and universities receiving contracts and grants. “It has become clear that universities face many regulatory compliance burdens that shift resources away from core research and education missions,” Shelanski wrote. “Removing any such burdens that are unnecessary puts money where it benefits society the most.”
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