ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI Caucus Features OMB Information Policy and Technology Executive

Washington DC, Nov 05, 2004

Attendees of the monthly ANSI Caucus luncheon held on Friday, November 05, 2004, met with Jacqueline A. Zeiher, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official responsible for coordinating executive branch compliance with the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, and OMB Circular A-119. These two documents spell out the requirement and implementation of federal government use of voluntary consensus standards in lieu of government unique regulations. In her presentation to the group, Ms. Zeiher explained how her office both tracks and reports compliance with the law.

Following a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) meeting earlier this year on OMB A-119 coordination, and after follow-up meetings with ANSI staff, Ms. Zeiher began an effort to educate her colleagues at OMB on the critical nature of American National Standards, and how the standards system works generally. Ms. Zeiher welcomed suggestions from the caucus attendees, and indicated she would appreciate comments on the latest NIST-OMB report on compliance with NTTAA. It describes activities related to the use of voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment practices by agencies of the federal government during FY 2003 as required by Paragraph 9 of OMB Circular A-119.

Ms Zeiher reported that there are several new features to the OMB report to Congress this year, including a consolidated list of all government unique standards that have been adopted over the last 5 years. While acknowledging that the number may well be higher than the 72 unique standards reported, she offered the report as a useful listing of identified government unique standards, so that when a question arises as to whether a particular standard has been reported as unique, this listing can provide an answer.

During the Q&A portion of the meeting, Ms Zeiher was asked whether OMB desk officers who review proposed rules for compliance with OMB A-119 and other laws were aware of the requirement in the order that intellectual property rights of standards developing organizations be respected when standards are referenced or otherwise utilized by agencies. Ms. Zeiher indicated she would follow-up on this issue, and make sure that they were informed. Ms Zeiher also responded positively to a question concerning whether OMB would be willing to pursue obtaining information from agencies that would document savings in labor, reduced appeals and litigation, and other costs from the adoption of voluntary standards.

The next ANSI Caucus is scheduled for Friday, December 3, 2004.