House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Federal Regulations, Regulatory Reform

The House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law held a hearing recently on the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs: Federal Regulations and Regulatory Reform.

Witnesses included Howard A. Shelanski, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA); C. Boyden Gray of Boyden Gray & Associates, PLLC; Sally Katzen, visiting professor at New York University School of Law and senior adviser at Podesta Group; Dr. John F. Morrall III, affiliated senior scholar at the Meracatus Center at George Mason University; and Nicole Riley, Virginia State director at the National Federation of Independent Business.

Shelanksi discussed the importance of regulatory flexibility for small businesses, as well as for others:

“While increasing the predictability of the regulatory process through timely review of rules and publication of regulatory plans and agendas is essential, the executive orders also make clear that flexibility and removal of unnecessary burdens are essential elements of the federal rulemaking process. As I have previously testified, ensuring regulatory flexibility for small businesses and reducing regulatory burdens for everyone through the retrospective review process are high priorities for me as administrator.”

Gray discussed details regarding The Regulatory Flexibility Act’s positive impacts for small businesses:

“Under the current regulatory Flexibility Act, each of three ‘covered agencies’ must convene a review plan to assess the impact on small businesses of ill-defined economically ‘significant’ proposed rules. The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (H.R. 2542) would give primary responsibility for this assessment to the chief counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration, and would require the interagency panel that receives the chief counsel’s report to include an OIRA employee. The Act would also allow OIRA, not just the originating agency, to decide what rules are covered. Finally, the Act would require executive agencies to submit to OIRA (and to Congress) periodic reviews of small business impacts of their existing rules. Including OIRA in the process in these ways would promote consistency and reduce bias in the assessment of regulatory impacts on small businesses – a matter of vital importance to the economy.” – Kaitlyn Dwyer