Obama administration blamed for massive regulatory delays

Obama administration blamed for massive regulatory delays
© Greg Nash

A government watchdog is complaining of massive regulatory delays from the Obama administration.

The White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has delayed important regulations for a combined total of 4,136 days, according to a new report from Public Citizen. That amounts to more than 11 years worth of delay.

All major rulemakings — from environmental regulations to worker safety protections and food safety rules — must be approved by the White House before they go into effect. By executive order, OIRA has a maximum of 120 days to review each rule but frequently misses the deadline.


Public Citizen found 23 rules currently in OIRA's pipeline that have been delayed, and the group added up the total number of days since those reviews were supposed to be completed.

One rule, which governs religious organizations’ participation in government humanitarian programs, has been delayed by more than four years. Others have been delayed for well over a year.

Public Citizen blamed the delays on “political interference, where rules are delayed weakened or even outright blocked, thanks to heavy pressure from” business interests.

“Chronic delays have become a persistent feature of the OIRA review process,” Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement. “Faster rulemaking could have saved thousands of lives, prevented thousands of injuries and kept millions of Americans from getting sick. The situation is improved from the historic delays of a few years ago, but far too many rules remain delayed for far too long.”