Hoeven: Senate Confirms Neomi Rao as OIRA Administrator, Chief Regulatory Authority

Senator Secured Commitment from Rao to Address Benefit & Cost Analysis for Army Corps Projects, Ensure Fair Treatment of Public-Private Partnerships

WASHINGTON -- Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Neomi Rao as head of the central authority for reviewing rules and regulations proposed by the executive branch, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 

“In order for our nation to continue to compete around the globe, we need to have a cost-effective, pro-growth regulatory environment,” Hoeven said. “As the head of OIRA, Neomi Rao is going to play a vital role in helping us to provide regulatory relief and make our country more competitive. Further, I appreciate her commitment to work with me to ensure public-private partnerships receive fair treatment by OMB and the Army Corps. That will be important as we use P3s to reduce the Army Corps’ backlog and build vital infrastructure across the country, like comprehensive flood protection in the Red River Valley.”

At a recent Senate committee hearing, Hoeven secured a commitment from Rao to work with him to address the inconsistencies in the benefit-cost ratio used by OMB for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects. Currently, OMB does not give due credit to projects that secure non-federal funding like public-private partnerships (P3). The agency compares project benefits to the project’s total cost, rather than just the federal project costs, which understates the value of the federal investment and can put such projects at a disadvantage.

Hoeven has repeatedly spoken with OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and Army Corps Chief Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite to ensure that innovative funding methods are accounted for in OMB and Corps calculations. The senator recently joined a bipartisan letter to Mulvaney asking him to reevaluate the process for calculating the benefit to cost ratio for Army Corps projects.

This effort dovetails with Hoeven’s Move America Act, bipartisan legislation he recently reintroduced that expands funding for public-private partnerships through tax-exempt bonds and tax credits to help repair and grow the nation’s infrastructure. This would lower overall costs and give state and local governments flexibility to construct the infrastructure they most need. Qualified projects include roads, bridges, transit, ports, rail, airports, water and sewer facilities and broadband.