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BY J.L. Laws
by J.L. Laws on 3/11/02.

White House regulatory czar John Graham and Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook will appear before a House government reform panel Tuesday to testify on a controversial report Graham presented to Congress last year targeting 23 regulations for revision or elimination, based on a review of their costs and benefits.

Graham is administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Since being narrowly confirmed by the Senate on July 22, he has fundamentally changed the way federal agencies go about regulating businesses by requiring them to perform exhaustive cost and benefit analyses on proposed regulations. Last December, Graham presented Congress with a report detailing 23 regulations, eight of which deal with Environmental Protection Agency regulations and two others with Interior Department rules, that agencies have been asked to revise or eliminate, with an eye to alternatives that offer similar returns for less cost.

Graham's office was supposed to submit a similar report
Feb. 4, detailing the costs and benefits all federal regulations and major proposed rules, but has yet to do so. Congressional aides said Graham may submit the new report Tuesday, but the White House would not confirm that. According to the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs, OMB has told the subcommittee it will submit its draft report by the middle of this month.

Claybrook, invited to testify by Subcommittee ranking Democrat John Tierney (Mass.), is one of Graham's most vocal critics and vehemently opposed his confirmation, arguing his penchant for cost/benefit analysis fails to adequately consider hard-to-quantify health and environmental benefits, and that his appointment would therefore be a blow to human health and environmental regulations that took years if not decades to put in place. Claybrook has been asked to testify on Graham's first regulatory assessment.

Schedule: The hearing starts at 2 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, in 2154 Rayburn.

Witnesses: Those testifying include John Graham, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; James Miller III, former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, the first administrator of OIRA and current counsel to Citizens for a Sound Economy; Thomas Hopkins, former OIRA deputy administrator and current dean of the Rochester Institute of Technology's College of Business; Susan Dudley, deputy director of regulatory studies at George Mason University's Mercatus Center; Thomas Sullivan, chief counsel for advocacy at the Small Business Administration; and Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen.