Obama Taps Howard Shelanski To Be New White House Regulatory Czar

By Reuters

Published April 26, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would pick Howard Shelanski, an antitrust expert, as his new regulatory czar, a powerful White House position charged with reviewing regulations proposed by government departments.

Shelanski, who is both an economist and a lawyer, is currently in charge of a team of economists that reviews competition and consumer protection issues at the Federal Trade Commission.

He was described by lawyers who know him as a sophisticated analyst who has a pragmatic approach gained from spending time in the trenches of a government agency.

“In my opinion, he’s a home run,” said William Eskridge, law professor at Yale University, who praised Shelanski for his intellect.

The regulatory czar is formally called the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, or OIRA - a body within the White House budget office.

Shelanski would replace Cass Sunstein, a well known and often controversial author who left the White House in August to return to teach at Harvard Law School.

During Sunstein’s tenure, the White House came under fire from environmental groups for thwarting regulations that were deemed to cost too much, including killing a smog rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I think its mission was to stop rules,” said Rena Steinzor, a law professor at University of Maryland, and president of the Center for Progressive Reform, a group that pushes for tougher environmental and health regulations.

Meanwhile, business lobby groups and Republicans have accused OIRA of not doing enough to slow regulations they view as burdensome and overreaching.

“It’s a kind of a thankless job,” said Michael Livermore, executive director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law.

“You’re almost guaranteed to have a lot of forces aligned against you and unhappy with you,” said Livermore, who called Shelanski a “balanced thinker” who understands the complex regulatory process.

KNOWN AS STRAIGHT SHOOTER

Shelanski is an affable person who is skilful at persuasion, said David Balto, a public-interest antitrust lawyer who said he has frequently found himself on the losing end of the argument.

“He has never agreed with anything I have ever proposed!” said Balto, policy director at the Federal Trade Commission during the Clinton administration.

“He’s the kind of person who knows how to work well with people of very different perspectives and reach agreement,” said Balto.

Shelanski was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He spent a decade on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley. He also worked as the chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission and was a White House economist during the Clinton administration.

“He has a reputation as a straight shooter with no obvious ax to grind,” said Bruce Kraus, partner with Kelley Drye & Warren LLP in New York City.

The job requires Senate confirmation, which was difficult for his predecessor Sunstein. But Shelanski’s lower public profile and impressive experience could make the confirmation process easier.

“I don’t know his politics, but anyone with both the Berkeley faculty and a Scalia clerkship on his resume, without knowing more, looks like a good bet for confirmation,” Kraus said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.