Improving the Process of Making Rules at Independent Agencies
First, independent agencies like CPSC should be expected to improve the accuracy and timeliness of their regulatory agendas. The regulatory agenda concept began with Executive Order 12,044, issued by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. Its plainly stated purpose was “to give the public adequate notice” of how agencies would be spending their time in the near term, which would allow for and encourage meaningful public participation in the regulatory process. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) extended the regulatory agenda requirement to all agencies, including independent agencies.
Second, in addition to issuing more accurate regulatory agendas, independent agencies’ proposed rules should be subjected to external review. Executive orders have established that the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) must review all of executive branch agencies’ significant regulatory proposals—which are generally those that have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more. This external review requirement currently does not extend to independent agencies. However, some legislative proposals would provide for independent agencies to submit some or all of their proposed rules to OIRA for review.