Step-by-Step Instructions for Requesting a “Listening Session” with the
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget
Many institutions of higher education have asked me recently what are the next steps in the 2021-2022 Federal Negotiated Rulemaking Process, how they can monitor the process going forward, and if there is anything that they can/should be doing now to prepare for the mandatory public comment period once the regulations are published as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register.
My immediate response is:
- Have you ever heard of Executive Order 12866?
- Have you bookmarked the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) website?; and
- Have you already requested your meeting to share your comments on the first package of proposed regulations, and/or are you preparing to do the same once the other key regulatory proposals are submitted to OMB?
Throughout the rest of this relatively brief document, I attempt to answer these questions and layout the step-by-step procedures that your institution should consider taking to share your assessment, concerns and recommendations with OMB, in the hopes that your comments help refine the proposed regulations before they are published as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
What is Executive Order 12866?
Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” issued by President Clinton on September 30, 1993, establishes and governs the process under which OIRA reviews agency draft and proposed final regulatory actions. The objectives of the Executive Order are to enhance planning and coordination with respect to both new and existing regulations; to reaffirm the primacy of Federal agencies in the regulatory decision-making process; to restore the integrity and legitimacy of regulatory review and oversight; and to make the process more accessible and open to the public. For all significant regulatory actions, the Executive Order requires OIRA review before the actions take effect. On the part of the agencies, Executive Order 12866 requires an analysis of the costs and benefits of rules and, to the extent permitted by law, action only on the basis of a reasoned determination that the benefits justify the costs.
Simply put, under Executive Order 12866, OIRA is required to meet on regulatory actions with any interested party to discuss issues on a rule under review. Under OIRA procedures, the OIRA Administrator or his/her designee meets with outside parties during a review and the subject, date, and participants of the meeting are publicly disclosed on Reginfo.gov along with any written materials received from outside parties on rules under review.
Where Are the Websites I Should Bookmark?
Your first stop is the OMB/OIRA Regulatory Review Dashboard. This page tracks the submission of all proposed regulatory revisions – including those submitted by the U.S. Department of Education.
Once arriving on the page scroll down until you reach the heading and details of the current submissions from “Department of Education”.
As of the date of publication of this article, you will note that there are currently four pending submissions from the Department. They include, the long-awaited, and still pending Title IX regulatory revisions (RIN 1870-AA16); proposed revisions impacting religious liberties and free inquiry (RIN 1840-AD72), and the first package of 2021-22 Negotiated Rulemaking issues, including BDR, pre-dispute arbitration agreements, total and permanent disability, closed school and false cert discharges, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and interest capitalization revisions (RIN 1840-AD53); and today’s publication of the second package of Neg. Reg. issues, including Income-Drive Repayment, Pell Grants for Prisoners, 90/10 and Changes of Ownership/Control (RIN# 1840-AD69).
As the new 2021-22 Federal Negotiated Rulemaking issues are finished with their initial drafting within the Department, they will be sent to OMB/OIRA, logged in on this site, and begin the White House review process – which includes the 12866 meetings.
So, by regularly checking this page, you will know when the key regulations that are being developed by the Department are ready for external White House review. And, if they are important to your institution, you can request a meeting with OMB/OIRA to share your views.
(Note: It is important to write down the RIN# for the package of regulatory proposals you would like to discuss, as you will need this information in submitting your meeting request.)
This page is also important because when the listed topics no longer appear it means that they have cleared White House review, have been given back to the Department with final comments and recommendations, which the Department takes under consideration before sending the regulations to the Federal Register for publication.
What Are the Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Request A Meeting with OIRA?
Armed with your RIN# from the Regulatory Review Dashboard, you are now prepared to begin the simple process to request a meeting with OMB/OIRA on the regulatory proposals important to your students and schools. Here are the simple steps to request and schedule your meeting.
Go to the “Schedule An E.O. 12866 Meeting” website. (Remember to have the RIN# prepared to input.)
Simply enter the RIN# and the prompt will take you to a page to authenticate and verify your email address.
After completion you will receive an email including a link which enables you to schedule your 12866 meeting.
Click the link included in your email to proceed with the scheduling process for your E.O. 12866 meeting request.
When you arrive at the link provided in your email, you will be asked to enter the meeting attendees, whether you wish to attend in-person or via teleconference, and asked to provide suggested meeting dates and times, and any other requirements you might have.
After your submission, you will receive immediate confirmation of your successful submission of a meeting request. In the confirmation it states that you should await a follow-up email with the date and time of your meeting and additional steps.
The next email details the date and time of your meeting – providing you with 2 business days to confirm the proposed meeting date. The email contains several important notices regarding your request, including the impact of failing to complete the meeting request process, the potential for failure to complete one request prohibiting your ability to request additional meetings on other topics in the future, and more.
When you click on the scheduling tab, you will be provided taken to a landing page where you can either: Confirm Your Meeting Request, Reschedule Your Meeting Request, or Cancel Your Meeting Request.
Once you confirm your meeting, you will be provided with the opportunity to edit your list of attendees and provide documents be presented to OIRA in advance of your meeting.
(Note: It is recommended that you request to schedule a meeting at a date far enough into the future so that you are certain that you will have all of the documents, data, and information fully prepared at least a week before your scheduling request.)
In preparing for your meeting you should be aware that this is predominantly a monologue, not a dialogue, in which you will be presenting your assessment, concerns and recommendations to a group of individuals from within the Administration. Individuals from both OMB/OIRA and the Department will be in attendance, but unless they are seeking clarification or more detail on a topic, they are there only to listen.
With that said, this is another very important opportunity for all institutions and interested parties to share their views with the Administration, reminding them perhaps of key topics where the previous discussions were left unresolved, where you may have an alternate proposal for addressing the topic(s) and/or proposals discussed, and/or simply to provide additional data or information in the hopes that it will help inform the decision-making process.
Draw upon all of the resources that you have available to you, including your federal and state association documents, third-party organization summaries and recommendations, as well as your own internal institutional staff knowledge and resources.
These regulations impact and effect the entire higher education community, how can it be that the first package only had three – as in one, two, three – parties interested enough in what is being developed to take a half an hour and simply share additional perspective on what the proposals will mean in the real world.
One Final Note
This process is separate for each individual set of proposals that is put forward. So, it is possible, and in some cases highly likely, that the same institution, organization, or other interested party will seek separate meetings on each of the packages. That is totally acceptable and expected.
For More Information or Assistance
If you have any questions or would like additional information please contact Tom Netting directly at Tom@TENGovtStrategies.com