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Bridget Johnson


December 13, 2012 - 11:18 am

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) wants to know why the Obama administration has failed to publish its Spring 2012 and Fall 2012 Regulatory Agendas as required by law.

The former director of the Office of Management and Budget — and President Obama stand-in during Mitt Romney’s debate practice — first wrote Obama on Aug. 30 to ask about the unprecedented move of skipping publication of the regulatory plans.

“The lack of a Spring 2012 Regulatory Agenda can hardly be explained by a lack of regulatory activity.  Last year’s spring agenda, for example, listed a total of 4,257 regulatory actions at different stages of development.  The agenda identified more than 200 of those actions as ‘economically significant’ — rules that have an annual economic impact greater than $100 million,” Portman wrote then.

He received no reply to that campaign-season inquiry. And now the deadline has passed for the Fall agenda’s publication, with no Spring one having surfaced.

“President Obama promised the most transparent administration in history, but he has failed to comply with the basic duty to publish plans for new regulations, as required by federal law,” Portman said. “The Administration first skipped the required Spring regulatory plans without any explanation and has also now missed the deadline for the Fall agenda.  This troubling pattern calls into question whether the Administration has abandoned this important tradition of openness in government.”

The American Bar Association also complained to the administration about the “unfortunate precedent” set by the administration refusing to produce the plans.

“As their titles suggest, the Fall Regulatory Agenda and Spring Regulatory Agenda are published in the spring and fall — the former by April or May, the latter by October or November.  Your Administration set April 13, 2012, as the “firm deadline” for agencies to submit their regulatory plans to the Office of Management and Budget,” Portman wrote to Obama yesterday. “But eight months have passed, and neither the spring nor fall agendas have been made public.”

“In light of this apparent trend, I am writing to inquire whether your Administration has chosen to abandon this tradition of transparency altogether.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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