This month, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of states in submitting a comment to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) about its proposed rewrite of Circular A-4, “Regulatory Analysis.” The attorneys general expressed their concerns with this OMB draft, mainly because the new policy would “insulate regulatory outcomes from judicial challenge by allowing agencies to shroud their arbitrary and capricious actions in partisan cost-benefit analyses.” In short, should Circular A-4 go into effect, the federal government would be allowed “more power to micromanage the lives of Americans.”
There are six arguments that this coalition uses to address its concern with the OMB proposal, including “revisions that downplay the importance of federalism and the role of States in effective and efficient regulation;” a lack of clarification on “how agencies should determine the temporal scope for conducting cost-benefit analyses, which is especially concerning given some agencies’ attempts to forecast economic growth three centuries in the future;” and an improper focus on “equity and behavioral biases as bases for regulation.”
General Reyes issued the following statement: “While this new policy from the federal government may seem technical and uninteresting to most Americans, it is extremely concerning to attorneys general who are on the front lines of defending liberties and local rights. This White House continues to chip away at our Constitution in order to centralize more power in the hands of an already bloated bureaucracy. Government exists to serve the people and protect their rights above all else, not to find innovative ways to shield itself from accountability and transparency.”
In their letter to OMB, the attorneys general make the case that “the federal government has recognized (for decades) that a ‘division of governmental responsibilities between the national government and the States was intended by the Framers of the Constitution’ and has sought to ensure that ‘the principles of federalism established by the Framers guide the executive departments and agencies in the formulation and implementation of policies.’ Although the operative version of Circular A-4 emphasizes the “substantial” advantages of leaving regulatory issues to States and makes mandatory the consideration of the possibility of regulation at the State level as an alternative to federal regulation, Current A-4 at 6, the proposed revisions flip the federalist balance on its head.”
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares led this letter. Joining Virginia and Utah are the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming.