Better Markets filed a comment letter with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”) in response to the draft guidance to improve the process of governing meetings with members of the public affected by executive branch federal rules.
Why It Matters. The rules issued by federal agencies help protect the health, safety, and financial well-being of all Americans, but the rulemaking process often unfolds without much public engagement. The rulemaking process has long been dominated by industry interests seeking to impede, dilute, or defeat regulatory reforms in the financial arena and elsewhere. OIRA’s draft guidance will help correct this imbalance.
What We Said. One of its core purposes of the draft guidance is to make the rulemaking process more inclusive by facilitating meetings with individuals and groups that have not historically requested such meetings, including those from underserved communities. The draft guidance is also intended to increase transparency around OIRA meetings, ‘while treating all members of the public—no matter their resources or viewpoints—consistently and fairly.’ The additional input from more diverse stakeholders, especially those who are underserved and underrepresented in government, will improve the quality of the final rules under review, mitigate the influence of anti-regulation voices, promote the public interest, and increase the public’s confidence in the rulemaking process.
The OIRA should take the guidance further and conduct more outreach to community leaders to provide training on the importance of the regulatory review process, how to submit meeting requests, and how to prepare for and participate effectively in meetings with OIRA. It should also enhance transparency by making substantive summaries of meeting discussions publicly available and by requiring more information about industry participants, including their lobbying status.
Bottom Line. Better Markets strongly supports these reforms and in its comment letter urges OIRA to enhance the process even further. We commend OIRA for pursuing this effort to expand public participation in the rulemaking process, and with these enhancements, it promises to significantly improve the quality and transparency of agency rules.
Read our full Comment Letter here or click the button below.