Ensure that all information disseminated or used by federal agencies in the rulemaking process is based on sound science and rigorous technical analysis.
Summary of the Issue
The total annual cost of federal regulations is estimated to be $1.1 trillion. These costs are passed along in the form of higher prices for goods and services, higher taxes, reduced wages, lower employment, stunted economic growth, and slower technological innovation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has long advocated for changes to the federal regulatory process that will help ensure that rulemakings and other federal agency activities are based upon sound science and the best available data.
The Data Quality Act (DQA) requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue government-wide guidelines that "ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information" disseminated by federal agencies, including information used to support new federal regulations. The DQA further requires agencies to establish administrative mechanisms that allow affected parties to petition for the correction of information that does not comply with the new OMB guidelines.
OMB issued its final DQA guidelines on February 22, 2002. Each agency was then required to issue its own implementing guidelines by October 1, 2002. Among the most important elements in the guidelines are requirements that influential scientific and statistical information be sufficiently transparent and reproducible, that agencies ensure the quality of data provided by third parties, and that agencies establish an administrative appeal process for correction requests that are denied. As a result, the U.S. Chamber believes the DQA may be one of the most significant developments in the federal rulemaking system since passage of the Administrative Procedure Act more than 50 years ago.
On July 20, 2005, the U.S. Chamber provided testimony before the House Subcommittee on Government Reform regarding the importance of the DQA and what it means for businesses. Moreover, the U.S Chamber is proceeding with a lawsuit before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that will establish the judicial reviewability of the DQA. The U.S. Chamber has also used the DQA to challenge the accuracy of several databases disseminated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which are used by the regulated community for making risk assessments and estimating remedial costs for environmental cleanups. The U.S. Chamber will continue an active role in support of the DQA to ensure accountability in federal agency decision-making.
U.S. Chamber Strategy
- Work with federal agencies to ensure that all data disseminated or used by the agencies complies with OMB and agency data quality guidelines.
- Conduct scientific, economic, and other research, where appropriate, to test the quality of data used by federal agencies in support of regulations or other policies.
- Utilize the DQA petition process to attempt correction of erroneous or poor-quality data that adversely affects the business community.
- Incorporate violations of the DQA into legal challenges against federal agencies.
Staff Contact Information
Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division