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Eye Opener: Regulate this!

By Ed O'Keefe


The bar graphs above show the number of regulatory actions currently under review by the Obama administration. (Courtesy OMB and GSA.gov)

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! The Obama administration made it a little easier to track the federal rulemaking process on Tuesday with the launch of a new Web site.

Users can now track proposed changes to government policy by visiting the redesigned RegInfo.gov, yet another "Dashboard" built by the Office of Management and Budget to display government information in a user-friendlier online format.

The new site posts information from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (the one run by Cass Sunstein) and allows users to find and sort rules by agency, where a proposed rule change is in the rulemaking process and a rule's potential economic significance.

"With the help of intuitive and graphical displays, the Dashboard will make it easier for people to identify the rule or category of rules they are interested in, and will allow them to monitor progress," OMB Director Peter Orszag commented on his blog. "Simply put, the Dashboard democratizes the data."

Colleagues reminded The Eye that a similar version of RegInfo.gov existed during the Bush administration. (It helped reporters track so-called "midnight regulations," among other things.) But Obama administration officials said the new site is much easier to navigate.

It's also another example of the White House's ongoing open government directive, a more than year-old effort that has resulted in mixed success, with improved online access to government information, but a continuing backlog of freedom of information act requests.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

More Obama Nominees Announced: On Tuesday the president apped Robert Stephen Ford to serve as ambassador to Syria and Jonathan Andrew Hatfield to serve as inspector general at the Corporation for National and Community Service. Hatfield replaces Gerald Walpin, the embattled agency watchdog fired last summer by President Obama. Track all Obama nominees with The Post's Head Count.

Cabinet and Staff News: Labor unions unhappy with President Obama over failed NLRB nomination. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's tough words for Iran run counter to outreach efforts. (She's also dodging questions on Sarah Palin.)A former White House chief of staff and a former Republican senator will run Obama's bipartisan budget commission.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT:
OMB extends its review of rules for imported catfish: The agency extended its review of catfish food safety inspection rules proposed by the Agriculture Department. The action comes amid concerns that such inspections could trigger a trade war with Vietnam.

CENSUS BUREAU:
Census workers who did no work were paid: Thousands of workers hired last year for temporary positions by the agency were trained and paid but never worked, while others who fulfilled assignments overbilled for travel expenses.

U.S. COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM:
Agency that monitors religious freedom abroad accused of bias: Some past commissioners, staff and former staff say the agency is rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism, with commissioners focusing on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
U.S., Afghan forces work to secure key areas in Marja: Facing little resistance, troops secured the central police station and the area where they hope to build a municipal building, moving west by foot on a mine-infested road to achieve a key objective of U.S. commanders.

Lesbian vet decries living a lie: Retired Navy Cmdr. Beth R. Coye says she was forced to live a lie for years by hiding her sexuality. It was a pretense that grew intolerable as she rose in rank, especially when she found herself signing the discharge papers of Sailors who were caught trying to live the same lie.

ENERGY DEPARTMENT:
Budget seeks cuts in greenhouse gases: Obama's budget calls for $39 billion in tax increases on fossil-fuel producers over 10 years. It also includes an estimated $1.4 billion to help developing countries address the impacts of climate change. And it proposes tripling federal support for nuclear energy, by adding $36 billion in new loan authority for an Energy Department program aimed at speeding the construction of new reactors.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION:
Prison to test cellphone jamming: The agency can only allow federal agencies -- not state or local authorities -- permission to jam cellphone signals. But a bill that passed the Senate and awaits action by the House would allow states to petition the FCC to block the use of cellphones from prisons.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Senator cites progress in Afghanistan contract oversight: Civilian and defense agencies are making progress establishing structures to prevent the contracting mistakes of Iraq from being repeated in Afghanistan, said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) during a Tuesday conference call from India.

TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT:
U.S. demanding Toyota records to ascertain timeliness of recalls: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will use "statutory authority" to obtain documents from troubled Japanese auto giant to make sure it conducted recalls in a timely manner.

TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION:
Dulles TSOs who missed work during snowstorm marked AWOL: In contrast, the situation apparently was handled in a more reasonable way at Reagan National and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall airports.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | February 17, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Next: OPM to agency bosses: Patience please

Comments

EPA needs to be able to do it's job and actually enforce the laws.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | February 17, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Wonderful idea, cell phone jammers in prisons. People living or driving near prisons won't be able to call 911 when attacked by escaped convicts. Whatever happened to cavity searches for contraband?

Posted by: member5 | February 17, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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