Trump’s DC court pick faces first step in what may be another ugly confirmation battle

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Rao, a former clerk to Thomas, currently serves as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It’s a little-known entity within the Office of the White House Office of Management and Budget charged with ensuring that federal agencies follow the law and act consistently with the administration’s policies.

“Over the past two years, federal agencies have reduced regulatory costs by $23 billion and eliminated hundreds of burdensome regulations, creating opportunities for economic growth and development,” Rao wrote in The Washington Post last October. Rao said the work “represents a fundamental change in the direction of the administrative state” that she said had gone “unchecked for decades” and has contributed to the “incredible economic boon” since Trump took office. “The Obama administration imposed more than $245 billion in regulatory costs on American businesses and families during its first two years,” she wrote.

Her critics say that during the Trump administration, Rao has worked to roll back Title IX protections for survivors of sexual assault on campus, as well as protections against racial discrimination in housing and environmental safeguards. “It’s no coincidence that the federal government office she heads is signing off on policies that harm some of our society’s most vulnerable,” said Nan Aron, of the progressive Alliance for Justice.

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