Business Roundtable: Statement for the Record on Improving the Regulatory Framework
From: Business Rountable
Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers who lead companies that operate in every sector of the U.S. economy, appreciates the opportunity to submit this statement for consideration by the Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce. Our statement makes the case for a smarter regulatory system and a streamlined federal permitting process.
Nearly three-quarters of Business Roundtable CEOs list regulations as one of the top three cost pressures facing their businesses. Roundtable CEOs believe that a smarter regulatory system and a more streamlined federal permitting process will help drive increased business investment, economic growth and job creation.
As advocates for smart regulation, America’s business leaders support efforts to make the federal regulatory process more transparent and open to public engagement, which will result in better information quality, smarter rules and more objective cost-benefit analyses.
Our recommendations outlined below:
- Call for greater and earlier public engagement in the regulatory process, better quality information, more objective cost-benefit analysis and completing the notice and comment process;
- Are substantially in agreement with the recommendations of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council);
- Advocate for a streamlined federal permitting process, which is supported by building trades unions and other broad-based business groups; and
- Call for new processes and procedures for conducting retrospective reviews of out-of-date and unnecessary rules.
Better Quality Information
A regulation can only be as good as the information on which it is based. The notice and comment process recognizes that members of the public generally have the best information about topics on which agencies plan to regulate. The regulatory system should enable members of the public not only to provide information, but also to help gauge the quality of the information upon which agencies rely (or propose to rely) – to ensure that it is the best available and meets fundamental quality standards.
Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations
Because of the considerable burden and costs associated with regulation, there have been multiple proposals for the re-evaluation of existing and sometimes longstanding federal regulations. The Code of Federal Regulations currently stands at 238 volumes consisting of more than 174,000 pages.
The accumulated and cumulative costs of regulation over time represent a genuine problem for our economy, as well as for individual companies and other regulated parties. Likewise, the problem of out-of-date rules, or unnecessary rules, is one that has important impacts. It is all too rare that agencies ask whether the original problem a regulation was issued to address has been solved or could be addressed more cost-effectively.
Over time, various administrations have sought to take various actions to address these concerns. President Reagan sought to do so with Executive Order 12291, and his Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief. President George H.W. Bush sought to do so through the Competiveness Council. President Clinton sought to do so in the National Performance Review. President George W. Bush did so through an Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) process inviting nominations to address existing rules. And President Obama did so through Executive Order 13563. Moreover, section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 has long required periodic agency review of certain categories of rules with impacts on small entities.