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Trump Nominates Regulatory Chief

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President Donald Trump on Friday nominated Neomi Rao, professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, as his administration’s regulatory chief.

Rao was nominated to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget. 

OIRA develops and oversees the implementation of government-wide policies in the areas of information technology, information policy, privacy and statistical policy. OIRA has the authority to kick rules back to agencies it if doesn’t approve of them.

Trump has said his goal is to roll back regulations by 75%, “maybe more.”

Jerry Ellig, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, told ThinkAdvisor that while Rao is “obviously knowledgeable and will be backed up by a dedicated career staff at OIRA,” the OMB division’s “50 employees are outnumbered about 5,000 to one by the employees of the regulatory agencies OIRA oversees. OIRA would be in a much stronger position if the regulatory system were reformed to require regulatory agencies to have a more solid factual basis for their decisions.”

Rao founded and directs the law school’s Center for the Study of the Administrative State, where her research and teaching focuses on constitutional and administrative law. 

Rao has previously served in all three branches of the federal government: as associate counsel to President George W. Bush; counsel for nominations and constitutional law to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary; and law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

She practiced public international law and arbitration at Clifford Chance LLP in London, and received her J.D. with high honors from the University of Chicago and her B.A. from Yale University.


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