Career official takes over as Obama’s acting regulatory czar

A career official has taken over the influential agency that reviews federal regulations, the Obama administration revealed Wednesday.

The White House Office and Management and Budget (OMB) confirmed that attorney Boris Bershteyn is no longer in charge of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Instead, it is being led by Deputy Administrator Dominic Mancini, an OMB spokeswoman told The Hill.

Mancini is a veteran of the regulatory office, having spent at least a decade there, according to OMB records. He will likely hold the job until President Obama puts forward a nominee who is confirmed by the Senate. 

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OIRA, housed within OMB, is the White House’s clearinghouse for rules put forth by federal departments and agencies.

The office has taken on increased significance as policymaking focus in some areas shifts from Congress to the executive branch, partly a consequence of legislative gridlock.

Yet the office has been without a Senate-confirmed chief since last August, when then-Administrator Cass Sunstein left.

In the months since, Bershteyn has served as “acting administrator,” as special interest groups anxiously await word of Obama’s next nominee for the post. But under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, an “acting” officer can only hold a position requiring Senate confirmation for 210 days unless a nomination has been made.

Bershteyn reached that limit earlier this week, prompting the end of his appointment and the start of the Mancini era. 

Bershteyn had not been seen as a candidate for the administrator position and the spokeswoman confirmed that the change was precipitated by the statutory limit.

The White House, meanwhile, has kept its plans for the office under wraps.