Blumenthal: White House delays of safety rules ‘unacceptable’

One regulation, on silica dust in workplaces, has been under review since February 2011. Another, mandating rear-view cameras in automobiles, has been there since November of that year.

"Given the health and safety implications of these agency actions, the length of delay in OIRA’s review is unacceptable," Blumenthal continued, asking the White House to either complete the reviews "immediately" or explain the delay.

Blumenthal is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's oversight, federal rights and agency action subcommittee, which oversees agency rulemaking.

In his letter, the senator accepts that "from time to time" the White House may exceed the 90-day deadline to complete cost-benefit analyses of upcoming rules, a technique championed by former OIRA head Cass Sunstein. Consumer groups claimed that Sunstein relied too heavily on the analyses, which some feel have effectively killed the safety regulations.

The importance of the analyses to Howard Shelanski, President Obama's nominee to lead OIRA, is relatively unclear, as her his views on a number of other issues.