Pro-reg group pushes back on Trump's 'regulatory czar' pick

Pro-reg group pushes back on Trump's 'regulatory czar' pick
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A regulatory advocacy group is calling on the Senate to reject Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee to be the nation’s so-called "regulatory czar" ahead of her confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Public Citizen’s Robert Weissman said Tuesday that the country needs an administrator for the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) that believes that federal agencies play a vital role in protecting the public.

“Professor Neomi Rao, evidently, does not,” he said in a statement.

“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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Rao, a professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, is expected to take the hot seat Wednesday in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

If confirmed, Rao would lead OIRA in reviewing all proposed and final agency regulations.

But Weissman is concerned that Rao’s writings signal she believes independent agencies should fall under OIRA review.

In a blog post she wrote for the Yale Journal on Regulation in December 2016, Rao pointed to an American Bar Association report urging the president-elect “to extend Executive oversight to many independent regulatory agencies.”

“This puts her at odds with both Republican and Democratic members of HSGAC, who have repeatedly stressed the importance of protecting independent agencies from improper corporate and political interference,” Weissman argued.

He also noted that the Trump nominee has voiced support for the so-called “nondelegation” doctrine – a legal principle that Congress cannot delegate its legislative powers to agencies.

In a 2015 New York University Law Review article, Rao argued that Delegation upsets the major structural principle of the collective Congress.

“This means not only that 'lawmaking' occurs outside of Congress in administrative agencies, but also that lawmakers become shadow administrators, threatening the independence of both Congress and the executive,” she wrote.