The government’s role in spurring innovation

From: Federal Computer Week

By Robert D. Atkinson, Stephen J. Ezell

Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage,” published in September by Yale University Press, explores the conditions that have caused the United States to fall behind other countries in the competition for the innovation advantage.

Authors Robert D. Atkinson and Stephen J. Ezell assess a wide range of factors to understand the challenges the country faces in regaining its position as a leader in innovation. Atkinson is founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and Ezell is a senior analyst there.

The Coming Perfect Storm of Regulation

From: US News and World Report

By Patrick McLaughlin

President Obama’s re-election would normally mean there is no need to be concerned about “midnight regulations,” the surge in regulatory activity that occurs during the lame duck period of an outgoing presidential administration. However, according to insiders and experts on regulation, we may yet witness a post-election spike in rule-making that is similar to what we have historically seen after the Oval Office changed hands. Welcome to Washington, where even broad daylight can be made to appear like midnight.

Helping Small Contractors Get Paid Faster to Boost the U.S. Economy

Editor’s Note:  Applying flexibility in implementing regulations affecting small business to assist those businesses is exemplary policy.  Agencies should take note of OMB’s action.

From: GovWin Network/Deltek

by Lourdes Martin-Rosa

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced in July that it is expanding the Quick Pay plan that the Obama administration announced in September 2011. Under this accelerated payment plan, agencies are urged to pay their prime contractors in 15 days, instead of 30 days, for a period of one year with the understanding that those companies will pass along those accelerated payments to their small business subcontractors. Officials are also setting clear expectations for prime contractors by making payment habits a future factor in the bid selection process.

Congress Delays Requiring Cost-Benefit Analysis of Internet Regulation

Editor’s Note:  Cost-benefit analysis is the foundation of any effective regulatory system.

From: The Technology Liberation Front

By Berin Szoka and Ben Sperry

You’d think it would be harder for government to justify regulating the Internet than the offline world, right? Wrong—sadly. And Congress just missed a chance to fix that problem.

For decades, regulators have been required to issue a cost-benefit analysis when issuing new regulations.  Some agencies are specifically required to do so by statute, but for most agencies, the requirement comes from executive orders issued by each new President—varying somewhat but each continuing the general principle that regulators bear the burden of showing that each regulation’s benefits outweigh its costs.

Office of Advocacy Has a Strong Showing at Administrative Law Conference

From: SBA/Office of Advocacy

“I’ll let you write the substance…you let me write the procedure, and I’ll screw you every time.”

—Representative John Dingell (Hearing on H.R. 2327, Regulatory Reform Act, before the Subcomm. on Admin. Law and Governmental Regulations of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 98th Cong. 312 [1983])

Representative Dingell’s window into the world of lawmaking is legendary in the legal profession.  And it is a truism that extends beyond just the chambers of Congress.  Most federal law is made within the federal agencies, and the rules of procedure that govern the writing and enforcement of agency-made law are part of what lawyers call “administrative law.”  It shouldn’t be a surprise that the attorneys in the Office of Advocacy’s Office of Interagency Affairs are active in this field.

FISMA Failings: Could EPA’s IT Defense Deficiencies Silence the Agency?

From: CircleID

“EPA’s deployment of a SIEM tool did not comply with Agency requirements for deploying IT investments.”

“EPA does not have a computer security log management policy that complies with federal requirements.”

“EPA did not follow up with staff to confirm that corrective actions were taken to address known information security weaknesses. … Office of Management and Budget Circular A-123, ‘Management Accountability and Control,’ states managers are responsible for taking timely and effective actions to correct identified deficiencies.”

— EPA, Office of Inspector General, “Improvements Needed in EPA’s Network Security Monitoring Program,” Report No. 12-P-0899, September 27, 2012

Americans Favor Regulations More Than Romney Bargained On

From: Bloomberg/Business Week

By  Jim Snyder

Mitt Romney urged voters to reject President Barack Obama and his “job-killing” regulations. Obama’s victory last week shows many Americans aren’t as reflexively anti-Washington as Romney expected.

In fact, presidents through history who aggressively used the tools of government at their disposal have won favor, and re-election.

“The idea that there simply was a deference to private property and individual rights is one of these American myths,” said William Novak, a University of Michigan law professor who has written on regulatory history.

How Obama Can Heal His Rift With Business

From: Bloomberg Opinion

By Jonathan Alter

U.S. presidents’ second terms often turn out to be failures in domestic policy, largely because lame ducks are almost by definition political figures of the past. Yet President Barack Obama’s winning coalition is aligned with the future of the country, giving him a fresh chance to lead.

To do so, he must repair his badly damaged relationship with the business community, which overwhelmingly supported Mitt Romney. It’s doable. From avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff, to an overhaul of immigration laws, to tax reform, there’s much more common ground than the combatants could acknowledge during the campaign.

The Next President Is Sure to Break the Rules

From: Bloomberg View

By Cass R. Sunstein

In his interview with the Des Moines Register in Iowa, outlining his priorities for his second term, President Barack Obama made some brief remarks that received too little attention:

“I’ve expressed a deep desire and taken executive action to weed out regulations that aren’t contributing to the health and public safety of our people. And we’ve made a commitment to look back and see if there are regulations out there that aren’t working, then let’s get rid of them and see if we can clear out some of the underbrush on that. Again, that’s something that should be non-ideological.”

North American Securities Administrators Association Letter Opposing the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act (S. N3468)

Editor’s Note:  The letter from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) to Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Collins is attached here.  The letter states that by requiring independent agencies “to submit proposed rules to the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review prior to their being finalized” the legislation “could have profound, chilling affects on the ability of independent regulatory agencies to adopt rules that effectively protect the investing public.”