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OMB Approval Process


The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA, pronounced "oh-eye-ruh") is a Federal office that Congress established in the 1980 Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C Chapter 35). OIRA is part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is an agency within the Executive Office of the President. In addition to reviewing government collections of information from the public under the Paperwork Reduction Act, OIRA reviews draft proposed and final rules under Executive Order 12866 and develops and oversees the implementation of government-wide policies in the areas of information policy, privacy, and statistical policy. OIRA also oversees agency implementation of the Information Quality Act, including the peer review practices of agencies.

After a rule has received Regulatory Policy Officer Approval, the appropriate Federal Register Liaison Officer (FRLO) will forward the rule text to the appropriate DoD Desk Officer at OIRA for an informal review. The Desk Officer will either approve the rulemaking for publication, or a formal review will be initiated.

The OIRA review process under Executive Order 12866 seeks to ensure that agencies, to the extent permitted by law, comply with the regulatory principles stated in the Executive Order and that the President’s policies and priorities are reflected in agency rules. Such review also helps to promote adequate interagency review of draft proposed and final regulatory actions, so that such actions are coordinated with other agencies to avoid inconsistent, incompatible, or duplicative policies. OIRA review helps to ensure that agencies carefully consider the consequences of rules (including both benefits and costs) before they proceed.

The period for OIRA review is limited by Executive Order 12866 to 90 days. There is no minimum period for review. Under the Executive Order, the OMB Director may extend the review period on a one-time basis for no more than 30 days at the request of the rulemaking agency.

During the course of OIRA’s review of a draft rule, the Administrator may decide to send a letter to the agency that returns the rule for reconsideration. Such a return may occur if the rule is not compatible with the law, if the quality of the agency’s analysis is inadequate, if the rule is not justified by the analysis, if the rule is not consistent with the regulatory principles stated in Executive Order 12866 or with the President’s policies and priorities, or if the rule unnecessarily conflicts with other Executive Branch agency rules or efforts. Such a return does not necessarily imply that either OIRA or OMB is opposed to the draft rule. The return letter merely explains why OIRA believes that the rule would benefit from further consideration and review by the agency.

Should the Desk Officer request amendments to the rule or additional analysis, the component action officer will be contacted by the appropriate FRLO for coordination of a response. Once the OMB review is complete, the Desk Officer will notify the appropriate FRLO that the rulemaking has been approved for publication in the Federal Register.  The FRLO will notify the action officer of OMB clearance and request the action officer forward the rule package to their PSA for approval.  The PSA will approve the rule by signing the approval memo.  Once the approval memo has been signed, the rule may be sent for publication.  The FRLO will forward the rule to the Office of the Federal Register.