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Latest batch of Trump nominations includes new ‘regulatory czar’

Joe Mont | April 12, 2017

President Donald J. Trump has announced a new batch of nominations that will affect the business world and the Administration’s oversight of process of regulatory approvals.

Neomi Rao of Washington, D.C. was nominated to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. 

OIRA is a statutory part of the Office of Management and Budget within the Executive Office of the President. It is the government’s central authority for the review of Executive Branch regulations and coordination of federal privacy policy. 

In addition to reviewing drafts of proposed and final regulations under a variety of statutory and Executive Order authorities, OIRA also coordinates retrospective reviews of regulations under, reviews and approves government collections of information from the public under the Paperwork Reduction Act, and oversees the implementation of government-wide policies in the areas of information policy, privacy, and statistical policy. 

OIRA also coordinates the Administration’s efforts to improve regulatory cooperation with our key trading partners, including Canada and Mexico.

Because of the tremendous power OIRA has in approving, denying, and eliminating government rulemaking, Rao’s post is often refered to as the nation’s “regulatory czar.” That role, during the next four years, will likely be in the spotlight, given president Trump’s pledge to scale back and repeal at least 75 percent of existing regulations.

Rao is a professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where she founded and directs the Center for the Study of the Administrative State.  Her research and teaching focuses on constitutional and administrative law.  

Currently a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, Rao has previously served in all three branches of the federal government.  She served as Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush; counsel for nominations and constitutional law to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary; and law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.  She practiced public international law and arbitration at Clifford Chance in London. 

Rao received her JD with high honors from the University of Chicago and her BA from Yale University.

For another key post, Russell Vought, of Virginia, was nominated to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.  

Vought spent 12 years on Capitol Hill in numerous roles. He served as the policy director for the House Republican Conference, under then-Chairman Mike Pence, and as the executive director of the Republican Study Committee, under then-Chairman Jeb Hensarling.  

He previously served as the RSC's budget director under two other chairmen. 

Vought began his career working for Senator Phil Gramm for four years as a legislative assistant. Since leaving the Hill, he has spent the last seven years as Vice President of Heritage Action for America.  

Vought graduated with a BA from Wheaton College in 1998 and a JD from the George Washington University Law School in 2004. He and his wife, Mary, have two daughters, Margaret Ella and Porter.

Vishal Amin, of Michigan, was nominated as Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in the Executive Office of the President.  Amin is currently Senior Counsel on the House Judiciary Committee.  

Earlier in his career, he served in the Administration of President George W. Bush at the White House, as Associate Director for Domestic Policy, and at the U.S. Department of Commerce, as Special Assistant and Associate Director for Policy in the Office of the Secretary. He received his bachelor's degree in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University and his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Kevin Allen Hassett, of Massachusetts, was nominated to be a member and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.  

Hassett is the State Farm James Q. Wilson Chair in American Politics and Culture and the Director of Research for Domestic Policy at the American Enterprise Institute, where he has researched the impact of tax policy on the behavior of firms and welfare of citizens.  

Prior to joining AEI, Hassett served as a senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board, and as an associate professor of economics and finance at the Graduate School of Business of Columbia University.  He has been an economic adviser to Republican presidential candidates John McCain, George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney, and a consultant to the U.S. Treasury during the administrations of both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  

A native of Greenfield, Massachusetts, Hassett received a BA from Swarthmore College and was awarded a PhD in economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Kristie, and two sons.