In a recent bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed both the Regulatory Accountability Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, a crucial first step toward returning balance to the federal rulemaking process for many small businesses, including independent retailers. “Bringing more accountability to the federal rulemaking process is a top priority for small businesses,” said National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) president and CEO, Dan Danner. A recent Gallup poll found that compliance with government regulations is an even bigger concern than consumer confidence for today’s small business owners. As PR Newswire reports, “According to government research, small businesses spend around 36 percent more than larger businesses to comply with federal regulations.”
Federal Fairness for Retail
Bruce Josten, executive VP for Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber, agrees that the passage of these bills are to be applauded, saying, “The principles in this legislation make the regulatory process more transparent, agencies more accountable, and regulations more cost-effective.” The Regulatory Accountability Act requires all federal agencies to examine more thoroughly proposed rules before they are adopted, limiting regulatory burdens placed upon the U.S. economy and individual Americans. The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act is a major priority in the effort to create a more fair and transparent regulatory environment. Below are more specific ways these bills will help in the enhancement of the regulatory process:
1) Increase public participation in shaping the most costly regulations before they are proposed.
2) Require that agencies must choose the least costly option, unless they can demonstrate a need to protect public health, safety, or welfare.
3) Give interested parties the opportunity to hold agencies accountable for their compliance with the Information Quality Act.
4) Provide for on-the-record administrative hearings for the most costly regulations, to insure that agency data is well tested and reviewed.
5) Provide for a more rigorous test of legal challenges for those regulations that would have the most impact.
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