A Regulatory Whodunnit: Identifying Reg Authors Gets a Boost

Republicans in Congress often say the public doesn’t get enough notice of regulations, nor how they change or even where they come from.

To help, Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) introduced a bill (H.R. 1460) last year that would require the authors of a regulation to put their names on their work.

In lieu of legislation, Young suggested to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney Wednesday that this could be done administratively.

OMB Director

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Regulatory Fingerprints Act would require people who work on or write any rule or regulation to put their name and title on it, Young said at an appropriations hearing.

One of the things he appreciated about the president’s budget was the list of names at the end of who had worked on it, Young said.

Similarly, when members of Congress introduce a bill or amendment, they have to put their names on it, he said.
“When it comes to regulations, we talk about the nameless, faceless bureaucracy,” Young said. “We don’t say that just to say it. It’s pretty much true, because when rules and regulations come out, nobody signs,” he said.

Signing regulations is a great idea, Mulvaney responded.

In terms of the budget, Mulvaney said he couldn’t take credit, because signing at the end is a long-standing tradition at OMB.

Budget staff are proud of the work they do, and they’re just as proud of the work they do for this administration as they did for previous administrations, Mulvaney said.

Indeed, there are some budget folks who may have been at OMB since the Carter administration, and some definitely since the Reagan administration, Mulvaney said.

“They are good bureaucrats; I know that word has come under a lot of pejorative sort of attack, but they’re good folks and they take pride in their work,” Mulvaney said.

As for regulations, there is no reason it couldn’t be done voluntarily at every agency, Mulvaney said, adding that he would mention it to the president's Cabinet.