February 12, 2018

Warren Questions OIRA Administrator Rao on Role in Hiding Damaging Analysis of Department of Labor Tipping Rule Proposal

Analysis Reportedly Found Workers Could Lose Billions of Dollars in Tips as a Result of the Proposal

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today sent a letter inquiring whether Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials played a role in hiding an unfavorable internal analysis of a December 2017 proposal to rescind an Obama-era regulation ensuring that restaurant and other workers receive the tips they earn. According to news reports, the internal analysis found that the Department of Labor's (DOL) proposal would cost workers billions of dollars.

In her letter to OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator Neomi Rao, Senator Warren pointed to reporting that OMB's regulatory staff was familiar with the data before the proposed rule was released. It was not clear from those reports whether Administrator Rao or OMB Director Mick Mulvaney were involved in the decision to scrap the analysis.

"You have been a proponent of more transparency and economic analysis in the rulemaking process," wrote Senator Warren. "But if DOL hid a key economic analysts of this proposed rule - and if OMB officials were aware of and complicit in doing so - that would raise serious questions about the integrity of the rule itself, and about your role and the role of other OMB officials in the rulemaking."

Senator Warren called on Administrator Rao to detail any role she or OMB staff played in preventing the public from seeing the analysis and what she will do to further address the matter by February 26, 2018.