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Sharon Block, Union Ally and Biden Regulation Chief, to Exit (1)

Jan. 28, 2022, 9:36 PMUpdated: Jan. 28, 2022, 10:16 PM

The top political official in the White House regulatory review office is departing her post, leaving the office without a leader appointed by President Joe Biden.

Sharon Block, an Obama-era labor official, will depart next week from her role leading the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. That office vets rules penned by individual agencies and mediates disagreements between departments on how to implement the president’s wishes.

Biden has yet to nominate a permanent leader for the job. Block has been filling the spot for over a year, and her departure once again creates an opening in the office’s top leadership. No president, let alone one as determined as Biden to create change through regulation, has taken this long to nominate someone to run the regulations office since the position started requiring Senate confirmation in the late 1980s, according to Senate records.

Career official Dominic Mancini will take over the position until a new person is named to the job, the White House budget office said.

“Sharon’s breadth of experience and wide-ranging expertise have been invaluable,” said Shalanda Young, the president’s interim budget director and Block’s boss.

Block, in an article published by The American Prospect before she took on the White House job, advocated for the regulations office to undergo structural changes to expedite revoking Trump administration rules she deemed harmful to workers and progressive interests. Her opinion piece also called for that team to take on an expanded role and advance urgent regulations tied to pandemic recovery, rather than sometimes functioning as a bottleneck for such rules.

Biden directed her office last January to develop ways to incorporate similar ideas into how the federal government evaluates regulations. Block’s team has yet to publish its results.

Past Jobs

In the Obama administration, Block served as a member of the National Labor Relations Board, counselor to then-Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and as acting head of the U.S. Labor Department’s policy office.

Most recently, Block was executive director of Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program. In that role, she spearheaded multiple meetings of union leaders and academics called the Clean Slate for Worker Power Project, which culminated in a report calling for sweeping labor law reforms to benefit workers and organized labor.

(Adds information throughout about Block's career and statement from Shalanda Young.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Courtney Rozen in Washington at crozen@bgov.com; Rebecca Rainey at rrainey@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernie Kohn at bkohn@bloomberglaw.com