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OMB nominee ‘uncomfortable’ promising to follow law on transparency about regulations

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Sylvia Burwell, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Congress that she’s “uncomfortable” with the idea of promising to publish the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda by the legally-deadline.

“Because I don’t know the facts behind what happened, that’s why I’m uncomfortable making a commitment, because I don’t know the facts behind the issue,” Burwell told Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, today during a Senate hearing.

Obama did not release a regulatory agenda in 2012 until December — “after the election, incidentally,” Portman observed — despite a law and a Bill Clinton executive order requiring that the White House release an agenda in the spring and fall of each year.

Portman wrote two letters about the issue to Obama last year, but never received a response. “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,” the Ohio senator said in a statement after the writing the second letter.  “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.”

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