When Vice President Bush asked independent regulatory agencies to submit new rules to the Office of Management and Budget for review, all agencies, from the Federal Communications Commission to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, respectfully declined. But now that James C. Miller III has left OMB for the chairman's post at the Federal Trade Commission, it could become the first independent agency to agree to some OMB oversight.
Miller, former executive director of Bush's Task Force on Regulatory Relief, sees no reason to change his views just because he changed hats. "My personal view is we should respond to the vice president's request . . . affirmatively," Miller said in an interview last week. While he casts but one of the commission's five votes, the FTC originally rejected Bush's request by a 2-to-2 tie. One of the commissioners opposing Bush has since resigned; if the other votes hold, Miller will have a majority.
No action is imminent, however. Miller told his fellow commissioners Friday that he wants to see the matter discussed, but said in the interview that it "is not a high priority for me." And legal problems may lurk in the wings if the commission appears to be sharing statutory authority it alone holds.