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Trump Taps Former Labor Counsel as White House Regulatory Chief

Oct. 2, 2019, 4:24 PM

President Donald Trump has nominated Paul Ray to serve as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the agency within the White House Office of Management and Budget that reviews all major federal regulations.

Ray is currently the acting OIRA administrator, taking over in March after former OIRA Administrator Neomi Rao was confirmed as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ray first joined OIRA in May 2018 as associate administrator.

“Paul is a dedicated public servant with a strong background in regulatory law and policy,” said acting OMB Director Russ Vought. “I look forward to working with him on the president’s regulatory relief agenda, which is helping millions of Americans.”

A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Ray is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he developed an interest in administrative law. Ray is a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and Judge Debra Ann Livingston of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York.

In an April interview, Ray said he was drawn into public service by former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who also had clerked for Alito, serving as the secretary’s counselor on the department’s regulatory portfolio.

Ray’s nomination will be considered by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the regulatory agency. Dominic Mancini, deputy administrator, is expected be named to lead OIRA during Ray’s confirmation process.

In his first public comments since becoming OIRA administrator, Ray told an administrative law conference Sept. 13 that the primary role of OIRA is to expertly assess the benefits and costs of agency rules.

“Even when the substance or outcome of a rule does not change, OIRA’s cost-benefit review ensures that agencies disclose their rules’ anticipated impacts, which is critical for public transparency and accountability,” Ray said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cheryl Bolen in Washington at cbolen@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com

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