The feedback will help shape the creation of the upcoming fifth National Action Plan for Open Government.

The feedback will help shape the creation of the upcoming fifth National Action Plan for Open Government. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Regulatory Process Needs A Boost in Public Participation, the Biden Administration Says

A virtual engagement session to gather suggestions for fixes will be held on Nov. 17.

Federal regulations touch virtually all aspects of American lives, so the Biden administration wants to hear from you on how it can boost public participation in the rulemaking process. 

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs – a small, but powerful office housed within the Office of Management and Budget – is hosting a virtual engagement session on Nov. 17 from noon to 1 p.m., on how to improve the often complex regulatory process. This feedback will help shape the creation of the upcoming fifth National Action Plan for Open Government and advance the administration’s goals on equity. 

“Every day, agencies across the federal government work on policies that touch the lives of millions of Americans—from protecting the air we breathe, to keeping workers safe on the job, to making sure companies properly disclose fees to their customers,” and regulations are one of the key ways to do this, said a blog post on Monday. “We know that the regulatory process works best when we hear directly from members of the public, including traditionally underserved communities, and they have a say and a stake in their government.”

In previous engagement sessions, OIRA has heard the following ideas to boost the public’s participation in the rulemaking process: “providing information on rules across a broader range of media like infographics and videos; improving guidance on the use of listening sessions and other participatory methods; and providing greater information to communities on opportunities to participate in rulemakings.” 

The crafting of the next Open Government National Action Plan, which is being co-developed with civil society and the public and will cover a two-year cycle, will take place from May 2022 to December 2022. The plan seeks to achieve a “more equitable, transparent, and accountable government,” according to the blog post. This could include the regulatory process and topics related to the functioning of government. The Obama administration issued three iterations of the plans and the Trump administration issued one. 

Upon taking office, almost two years ago, President Biden issued a memo on modernizing regulatory review, which has not been finalized yet. The president nominated Richard Revesz, most recently the AnBryce Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at the New York University School of Law, to lead OIRA, after taking over a year and a half to name someone. His nomination is still pending in the Senate 

Now, if one or both of the congressional chambers flip in the midterm elections, the use of regulations could be more powerful for the Biden administration to enact policies.