In the development of public policy, the public attention is focused on the President and Congress; however, its administrative agencies that are responsible for most of the work involved in carrying out policy(Brito & Rugy, 2009). Congress created each one of the federal agencies to ensure the proper implementation of specific laws(Hammond & Knott, 1999).The federal rulemaking process is guided by an elaborate set of procedures and requirements developed during a period of the last 70 years by Congress and various presidents(Kerwin & Furlong, 2010). The Information Quality Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Unfunded Mandates reform Act and the Administrative procedure Act make up the requirements for statutory rulemaking that are applicable a wide range of agencies. These rulemaking requirements and other such requirements that cut acrossthe federal rulemaking process call for rulemaking agencies to make an analysis before setting out to issue a covered rule. The advantage being that from these rulemaking requirements agencies can draw significant discretion regarding the applicability of the requirements. Besides this, there are other rulemaking requirements; those contained in laws specific to an agencyor a program, that provide agencies with discretion on varying levels regarding the substance of rules. Such rulemaking requirements may exclude or impose extra procedural or analytical requirements(Kauffman, 2008).
Ex-ante evaluation is one of the ways that agency heads might influence rulemaking. This is because ex-ante reviews enable the analysis of the anticipated impacts of planned legislation and endeavors to optimize the structure of the rules, the sequence of priorities, as well as the internal and external coherence of the rules. Ex-ante evaluations are conducted using parameters and indicators of the concerned area and are able to make estimates based on the social and economic grounds of objectives and priorities that have been approved. In addition to this, ex-ante evaluations make justifications of grounds on which decisions are made, and give recommendations in the allocation and deployment of related resources while ensuring the availability of information relevant to implementation decisions and monitoring of the implementation process.
Executive orders from the president are another way that agency heads can influence the rulemaking process. In the case of midnight regulations for instance, agency heads can be directed by the president to stop any work related to rules the new president’s administration is attempting to void, until the rules have been reviewed by his administration(Sapien, Can obama Turn Back the Clock On Bush’s Midnight Rules?, 2008). After being withdrawn and during the review process, agency heads can be influential in the altering or rescinding of the rules to ensure that they fit the new administration’s agenda(Kaufman, 2005). This process is more challenging if the rules have already been published or are already in effect, since a rule that is already in effect is very difficult to get rid of unless it is replaced with another ruleand the process could take years (Sapien & Nankin, Midnight Regulations, 2008).
As part of the executive arm of government, having been vetted by the Senate before taking office, and owing to the fact that most regulatory statutes specify that agency heads make regulatory decisions(Kauffman, 2008), I think that agency heads should be able to influence the rulemaking process to higher degrees.