President Biden’s nominee to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, wrapped up her second of two confirmation hearings today. Regulation was a topic in both hearings. When might we expect to see a nomination from President Biden for the Administrator of the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)? Folks from all sides are watching this closely, because it’s an important job.
Dear reader, I can’t tell you the future but I can make a table of what happened in the past. Here’s a snapshot of the timeline for nomination and confirmation of a new president’s first OIRA administrator:
|Received in the Senate||Confirmation Hearing||Confirmed|
|April 21, 1993||May 19, 1993||May 28, 1993|
|John D. Graham|
(G.W. Bush Admin.)
|March 28, 2001||May 17, 2001||July 19, 2001|
|Cass R. Sunstein|
|April 20, 2009||May 12, 2009||September 10, 2009|
(57-40 following cloture)
|May 18, 2017||June 7, 2017||July 10, 2017|
(54-41 following cloture)
This suggests that, if the Biden Administration follows the timeline of prior administrations, we shouldn’t expect to see a nomination until March at the soonest, and perhaps even later in the spring. A quick search suggests that at least sometimes the nominations get announced at least a month or so ahead of the nomination being sent to the Senate.
I pulled this info for the dates, but the vote tallies are interesting, too. They show how the votes narrowed over time, requiring cloture votes in the two prior administrations. Perhaps a reflection of polarization and the way regulation & OIRA have become more politically salient over the years. The table above doesn’t include the administrators nominated later in a president’s term, but it would be interesting to look at all of them, including going back to the Carter Administration when OIRA was created. A project for another day.