Ensure that the federal regulatory process is cost-effective, flexible, based on sound science and technical analysis, and is able to achieve its results using diverse and innovative methods.
Summary of the Issue
Each year federal agencies issue approximately 4,000 new regulations. The annual cost of federal regulations is estimated at nearly $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 changes to the federal regulatory process that will help ensure that rulemakings and other federal agency activities are based on sound science, rigorous technical analysis, and the best available data. In addition, the U.S. Chamber favors innovative approaches to regulation that encourage cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and a careful consideration of alternatives.
While much work remains to be done, the U.S. Chamber is pleased with some of the common sense reforms that have been adopted in recent years. For example, many regulations have moved away from design specifications and have instead adopted performance standards that allow businesses maximum flexibility to achieve regulatory standards. In addition, in the area of sound science, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued government wide guidelines for information quality under the Data Quality Act, and now proposes to require peer review for all important scientific information used in the regulatory process. OMB has improved the guidelines that agencies use when conducting regulatory cost-benefit analyses, and the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration consistently ensures that federal agencies consider the impact of proposed regulations on small businesses and take into account less burdensome alternatives. Congress and the Executive Branch must encourage further reforms in these areas to include flexible, alternative approaches to regulation in order to foster a regulatory climate based on compliance and problem solving.
U.S. Chamber Strategy
- Ensure agency compliance with OMB's data quality guidelines and peer review proposal.
- Ensure that agencies conduct rigorous cost-benefit analyses of regulatory proposals.
- Encourage regulatory innovations and flexible regulatory approaches.
- Build coalitions with businesses and trade associations to develop a more effective communications strategy concerning the need for sound regulation.
- Monitor and comment on proposed federal regulations that impose significant regulatory burdens on business.
Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division
Draft 2003 Report to Congress on the Costs and Benefits of Federal Regulations - May 5, 2003 [PDF]