April 5, 2007 The Pump Handle 3Comment

When President Bush nominated Susan Dudley to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) last year, her nomination didn’t make it out of the Senate committee. (See Celeste Monforton’s post on Dudley’s underwhelming performance before the committee.) Yesterday, Bush avoided Senate opposition by giving Dudley a recess appointment.

As head of OIRA, Dudley will be able to block regulations proposed by government agencies — and since she thinks that markets do a better job of regulating than the government does, she’ll probably do a lot of blocking.

“Dudley’s record is one of anti-regulatory extremism,” said Rick Melberth, Director of Regulatory Policy at OMB Watch, which published a report last year entitled The Cost Is Too High: How Susan Dudley Threatens Public Protections. “She has opposed some of our nation’s most basic environmental, workplace safety and public health protections.” In an LA Times article, Joel Havemann describes some of Dudley’s anti-regulatory positions:

In congressional testimony, Dudley has favored dispensing with costly air pollution controls and initiating a pollution warning system “so that sensitive individuals can take appropriate ‘exposure avoidance’ behavior” — mostly by remaining inside.

She opposed stricter limits on arsenic in drinking water, in part because she argued that the Environmental Protection Agency’s calculations of the costs and benefits overvalued some lives, particularly those of older people with a small life expectancy.

She has argued that air bags should not be required by government regulation but requested by automobile consumers willing to pay for them.

Public health advocates are distressed by Bush’s action, but not surprised. Bush’s choice of a staunch regulation opponent to a key regulatory position fits in with the other actions he has taken to hobble the the regulatory process.

3 thoughts on “Bush Uses Recess Appointment for Regulatory Position

  1. Didn’t The Decider do this same thing with the Mine Safety and Health Agency? Richard Stickler was so much in bed with mining firms that even the Republicans on the comittee couldn’t hold their noses to support him.

    Seems like recess appointments are Bush the Lesser’s answer to everything. Same way he’s handled every other issue where his will has been balked.

    Must have been a real disappointment to him to find out he was a president, rather than the Soopreme ‘lustrus Potentate of America.

  2. Yep, Richard Stickler was a recess appointment — after the Senate sent his nomination back to the White House twice.

    Bush also made two other recess appointments while installing Dudley. One was a Social Security official (a privatization advocate from the Cato Institute), and the other was an ambassador to Belgium. Fox, the one given the ambassador slot, had donated $50,000 to the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, so his appointment seems to be getting a bit more attention. The legality of this appointment is apparently questionable, too, based on the technicality of whether Fox is allowed to serve voluntarily without getting a salary (according to Mary Ann Akers at washingtonpost.com, here).

  3. On a slightly more uplifting note retailers note the upswing in sales off gay apparel during the present administration .

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