Rulemaking is an essential function of government, but it is one that is often overlooked or underappreciated. Rulemaking agencies are tasked with implementing the laws Congress passes, and the ensuing regulations can extend protection or opportunity to consumers, workers, businesses and the environment, often in areas where it is needed most. Conversely, poor regulations, or a lack of regulations, can imperil society and sow the seeds of disaster.
Commitment to such public interest rulemaking is critical to building a successful presidential administration. Every administration engages in rulemaking, but only those committed to writing rules in the best interest of consumers, workers, the economy, and the environment can lay claim to an administrative record successful in public service.
This is the first of three OMB Watch reports evaluating the Obama administration's record on regulatory issues. This report covers health, safety, and environmental rulemaking at federal agencies during the Obama administration from January 2009 through August 2010. The second report will cover many of the same issues and areas as this report but will focus on regulatory enforcement. The third report will focus on the regulatory process, including issues of transparency, participation, regulatory analysis, and scientific integrity, and will more deeply examine the role of the White House, specifically the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in shaping the administration's recor