In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities.
This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats.
So is this an attempt to relegate Congress to a ceremonial role now that the Republicans are no longer in control?
More from the article:
Typically, agencies issue regulations under authority granted to them in laws enacted by Congress. In many cases, the statute does not say precisely what agencies should do, giving them considerable latitude in interpreting the law and developing regulations.
The directive issued by Mr. Bush says that, in deciding whether to issue regulations, federal agencies must identify “the specific market failure” or problem that justifies government intervention.
Besides placing political appointees in charge of rule making, Mr. Bush said agencies must give the White House an opportunity to review “any significant guidance documents” before they are issued.
"Laws enacted by Congress" have been signed by the President. If he wants to veto a bill, then veto it. Although I suppose a Democratic President could rescind such an order, this still seems like an attempt at a kind of "backdoor veto."
The White House told agencies that in writing guidance documents, they could not impose new legal obligations on anyone and could not use “mandatory language such as ‘shall,’ ‘must,’ ‘required’ or ‘requirement.’ ”
So we are going to make compliance with the law voluntary now?
This is what all this really seems to be about:
The executive order was issued as White House aides were preparing for a battle over the nomination of Susan E. Dudley to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget.
President Bush first nominated Ms. Dudley last August. The nomination died in the Senate, under a barrage of criticism from environmental and consumer groups, which said she had been hostile to government regulation. Mr. Bush nominated her again on Jan. 9.
With Democrats in control, the Senate appears unlikely to confirm Ms. Dudley. But under the Constitution, the president could appoint her while the Senate is in recess, allowing her to serve through next year.
Some of Ms. Dudley’s views are reflected in the executive order. In a primer on regulation written in 2005, while she was at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University in Northern Virginia, Ms. Dudley said that government regulation was generally not warranted “in the absence of a significant market failure.”
In other words, they want to spurn the will of Congress. Isn't that what elections and the veto pen are for?