Analysis of the Regulatory Plan and Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations
Ten Thousand Commandments 2016 – Chapter 5
What little regulatory disclosure does exist has suffered under the Obama administration. “The Regulatory Plan and Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions” (the Agenda) outlining agency priorities normally appears in the Federal Register each fall and, minus the Regulatory Plan component, each spring. However, these days it seems even this limited disclosure has become too much to ask of a government that avoids preparing a comprehensive and balanced fiscal budget for itself, let alone a regulatory one. Election campaign considerations can cause agencies to hold back on rules or report fewer of them. In addition, OMB now routinely reports on fewer “long-term” planned rules—including disclosure of rules affecting small business—an omission that misleadingly pushes the overall Agenda count downward. The overall number of rules appearing in the Agenda has decreased of late, yet that does not mean regulatory bur – dens have decreased. In any event, counts for the costlier subset of rules are up.
The Agenda’s rules primarily affect the private sector, but many also affect state and lo – cal governments and the federal government itself. In normal circumstances, the Agenda gives researchers a sense of the flow of the regulatory pipeline. It details rules recently completed, plus those anticipated or prioritized within the upcoming 12 months by federal departments, agencies, and commissions (59 in the newest edition). As a cross sectional snapshot of rules moving through the regulatory pipeline, the Agenda compiles agency-reported federal regulatory actions at several stages: