Restoring balance in the regulatory process

One year after President Obama’s signing of Executive Order (EO)13563 – Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, a directive that promised to help balance the rulemaking process and curb the increase in onerous federal regulations, a look back suggests we’ve seen little change. In the last year the administration has continued rolling out costly new rules and mandates for small businesses on par with the last five years, which have seen a 60 percent increase in proposed major regulations.

EO 13563 required policymakers to review regulations on the books to ensure that they were still relevant (an obligation already required by law); minimize costs of new regulation; pursue only rules whose benefits outweigh their costs; and identify alternative options whenever possible for future regulations. Those requirements hinted at a much needed break for small businesses. Unfortunately, as we saw over the course of the year, the guidance was largely ignored or inconsistently applied. The administration proposed regulations that would cost $231.4 billion and create 133 million hours of paperwork, according to the American Action Forum. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed one rule on industrial furnace emissions that if approved would cost about $10 billion up front, and as much as $3 billion annually.



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