The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Bush Skips Congress, Appoints ‘Extremistâ€TM as Regulatory Head

by Megan Tady

Apr. 6, 2007 – President Bush is poised to install someone watchdog groups call an "anti-regulatory extremist" to a powerful government position.

On Wednesday, the Bush administration announced its intention to use his recess appointment authority to go around Congress and insert Susan Dudley at the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Through a recess appointment, the president can bypass Senate confirmation of a nominee by filling the vacancy while the Senate is not in session.

As part of the Office of Management and Budget, OIRA oversees standards produced by bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also helps set regulatory policy, from workplace safety to air quality.

Environmental and regulatory groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen and OMB Watch, have staunchly opposed Dudley’s nomination. Critics say Dudley, who has a record of opposing public-health protections, will prioritize corporate interests over protecting the public.

As previously reported by The NewStandard, from 2003 to 2006, Dudley was the director of the Regulatory Studies Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where she authored articles that opposed reducing vehicle emissions and challenged tougher smog standards.

Calling the announcement "devastating," Public Citizen also lambasted the president for circumventing Congress to appoint Dudley.

"Bypassing the Senate is a sign that the president does not have faith that Dudley could get through the process on her own merits," said Robert Shull, Public Citizen’s deputy director for auto safety and regulatory policy, in a press statement. "Instead of facing up to her record on the issues, the president has decided to evade public accountability and just hand her this incredibly powerful office."

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Megan Tady is a staff journalist.

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