Reining in regulatory dark matter

From: The Hill | Opinion


Agencies are already required to contribute to transparency reporting through the twice yearly “unified agenda of federal regulatory and deregulatory actions” for recent and upcoming regulations. The agenda lists rules that go through the standard rulemaking process, but not guidance documents. An executive order should require the agenda to include guidance and other agency subregulatory directives. Each guidance document should also be classified as either “regulatory” or “deregulatory” to make their individual impacts easier to determine.

As it happens, all regulations and guidance documents are required to be submitted to Congress and the Government Accountability Office under the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress 60 legislative days to pass a resolution of disapproval to repeal the rule or guidance. Worse, certain regulations have not been submitted to Congress for years. The executive order should deem all such existing guidance documents to be invalid, unless the Government Accountability Office and both chambers of Congress had properly received the regulations in the past, and strictly enforce that requirement for all future guidance documents as well.

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