Can the Dodd-Frank Act be reformed to strengthen the financial system and the overall economy? We think so

From: American Enterprise Institute

I. Introduction & General Themes

A. Reform Amendments Already Approved by the House

During the 113th Congress, the House Financial Services Committee reported more than two dozen bills that amend provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA), in many cases with strong bipartisan majorities. Several of these have also been overwhelmingly passed by the House.


B. Cost-Benefit Analysis Requirements for Rulemakings

Obama Backs Tougher Rules for Brokers As Fiduciary Rule Re-Proposal Heads to OMB

From: Bloomberg/BNA

By Dave Michaels and Angela Greiling Keane

President Barack Obama threw the weight of the White House behind an effort that would make it harder for brokers to push higher-fee mutual funds or other expensive products on people saving for retirement.

The plan to be issued by the Labor Department would require brokers to act in a customer’s best interest, a change that could limit the earnings of financial advisers in the handling of Americans’ $11 trillion of retirement savings.

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The Problem with Words: Plain Language and Public Participation in Rulemaking

Editor’s Note: The complete study is available here.

From: George Washington Law Review, 2015, Forthcoming Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-08

Cynthia R. Farina, Mary J. Newhartand Cheryl Blake

This article, part of the symposium commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Administrative Conference of the United States, situates ACUS’s recommendations for improving public rulemaking participation in the context of the federal “plain language” movement. The connection between broader, better public participation and more comprehensible rulemaking materials seems obvious, and ACUS recommendations have recognized this connection for almost half a century. Remarkably, though, the series of Presidential and statutory plain-language directives have not even mentioned the relationship of comprehensibility to participation—until very recently. In 2012, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) issued “guidance” instructing that “straightforward executive summaries” be included in “lengthy or complex rules.” OIRA reasoned that“[p]ublic participation cannot occur … if members of the public are unable to obtain a clear sense of the content of [regulatory] requirements.”

Foxx Sees Innovation Out-Running Regulation

From: Roll Call

By Tom Curry

In our interview Friday with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, he suggested that the pace of technological innovation in transportation is out-running the ability of federal regulators to devise rules governing the use of that technology.

He pointed out that rule-making by federal agencies, which entails a lengthy preparatory phase, a cost-benefit analysis by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, then a public comment period, and a round of refining of the final rule, “is designed to ensure that when rules do come out there’s been a thorough look at whether there are alternatives or whether there’s a better way to get there.”

Carbon capture and the Information Quality Act

Editor’s Note: For a more recent analysis of the judicial reviewability of the DQA with respect to EPA’s carbon capture and storage plans, see here.

From: The Florida Bar Out-of-State Division | State-to-State (Summer 2014)

by H. Brendan Burke

On Jan. 8, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed new source performance standard (NSPS) under the Clean Air Act1 for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new or modified electric utility plants that will effectively require implementation of a process known as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).2 EPA offers the following explanation of this technology:

White House Issues Report on Big Data and Differential Pricing

Editor’s Note: The White House’s Big Data Review website is available here. The White House’s Interim Report, BIG DATA:SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES, PRESERVING VALUES” is available here. The White House’s Big Data and Differential Pricing Report is available here.

From: The National Law Review

Morgan Kennedy | Covington & Burling LLP

Yesterday the White House released a report discussing how companies are using big data to charge different prices to different customers, a practice known as price discrimination or differential pricing.  The report describes the benefits of big data for sellers and buyers alike, and concludes that many concerns raised by big data and differential pricing can be addressed by existing antidiscrimination and consumer protection laws.

FCC to Propose Strong ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules

From: The Wall Street Journal

Agency Would Regulate Broadband Providers Tightly Like Telecommunications Firms

By Gautham Nagesh

The Federal Communications Commission is about to fundamentally change the way it oversees high-speed Internet service, proposing to regulate it as a public utility.


The proposal, expected to be unveiled by the FCC on Thursday, is a victory for a host of Silicon Valley firms and liberal activists who have championed it. Many of these companies lobbied the White House seeking such an outcome, and were rewarded in November when President Barack Obama announced his support for “the strongest possible” rules for net neutrality, the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.

FACT SHEET: President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative

From: The White House

Building on President Obama’s announcement in his State of the Union Address, today the Administration is unveiling details about the Precision Medicine Initiative, a bold new research effort to revolutionize how we improve health and treat disease.  Launched with a $215 million investment in the President’s 2016 Budget, the Precision Medicine Initiative will pioneer a new model of patient-powered research that promises to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients.