The GW Regulatory Studies Center is actively compiling resources to better understand how COVID-19 is affecting the rulemaking process, and what the US federal government is doing in relation to the pandemic. This page provides resources that we consider helpful in understanding these changes.
Analyzing Public Comments to Inform Agency Regulatory Reform Efforts -- March 31, 2020
By: Mark Febrizio, Daniel R. Pérez, Aryamala Prasad, and Zhoudan Xie
As part of a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture from 2018-19, the GW Regulatory Studies Center produced this four-chapter report analyzing the role of public comments on the rulemaking process.
GAO’s Role in the Regulatory State -- March 24, 2020
By: Bridget C.E. Dooling
Congressional oversight of the regulatory process tends to be criticized for its anemia, but there are signs that Congress does sometimes engage in subtle and complex oversight techniques. One under-studied example of this arises under a 1996 statute called the Congressional Review Act (CRA) and hinges on the work of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Known more for its role as an auditor, GAO has created a role for itself as a referee in an increasingly important part of the administrative state.
Learning From COVID-19 -- March 20, 2020
By: Susan E. Dudley in Forbes
As the world struggles to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, short-term policies should focus on generating much-needed information. The longer term focus should be on policies that make society more resilient and able to respond to a range of future challenges, whether they are anticipated or not.
Reply Comment on Benefit-Cost Analysis at the STB -- March 18, 2020
By: Jerry Ellig
This reply comment is on the Surface Transportation Board's solicitation of information regarding the Association of American Railroads' petition for a rule on benefit-cost analysis, and it addresses several concerns about the suitability of benefit-cost analysis for STB proceedings that stakeholders raised in earlier comments.
CEQ's Proposed Update to NEPA -- March 11, 2020
By: Mark Febrizio
The Council on Environmental Quality is proposing an update to its regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Although the fundamental understanding of NEPA would remain the same under the revised implementing regulations, CEQ’s proposed rule implies both substantive and procedural changes that affect the extent to which environmental review informs agency decision-making processes. This public interest comment offers comments on CEQ’s NPRM by focusing on aligning NEPA with regulatory best practices, encouraging systematic regulatory analysis of the proposed rule, and addressing specific topics where CEQ invites comment.
When Pigs Fly? DOT Says Not for Free. -- March 11, 2020
By: John Bertino
The Dept. of Transportation is seeking comments on regulations related to animals on planes. Commenters should help the agency improve its benefit-cost analysis, and further clarify all of the trade-offs facing consumers and industry.
Is American Food having an Identity Crisis? -- March 9, 2020
By: Laura Stanley
FDA and USDA proposed a rule in 2005 to establish general principles the agencies could rely on to evaluate food identity standards. The agencies did not finalize the rule, but FDA recently reopened the comment period on the proposal.
Statutory Delegation, Agency Authority, and the Asymmetry of Impact Analysis -- February 26, 2020
By: Jerry Ellig & Michael Horney
This article documents the diverse degrees of discretionary authority Congress grants US executive branch agencies. It then presents a case study that systematically compares the quality of impact analysis that informed legislative and regulatory decisions on positive train control, a technology mandated by statute in 2008.
OMB's Request for Comment on Marginal Excess Tax Burden and EO 13771 -- February 20, 2020
By: Brian F. Mannix
This public interest comment begins by making some general observations about the use of Marginal Excess Tax Burden in the context of budgetary, tax, and regulatory policy. It then offers responses to the eight specific questions listed in the OMB notice.
By: Christopher Carrigan, Mark Febrizio, & Stuart Shapiro
This working paper is part of a symposium hosted by the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School titled Bureaucracy and Presidential Administration: Expertise and Accountability in Constitutional Government.
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The GW Regulatory Studies Center could not be here today without the generous support of individuals, foundations, and organizations around the world who actively donate resources to allow us to provide paid internships to promising students, host widely attended bi-partisan events, and publish material on the most pressing issues in regulatory policy.
What We're Working On
The GW Regulatory Studies Center's cooperative agreements with the US Department of Agriculture analyze agricultural regulations in a series of reports.
Analyzing regulatory policy through annual budgets.
Whether you think the policy is vital to democratic governance or an improper check on agency actions, we have the details and analysis you're looking for!
Issue Areas & Publications
Why does the system look and function the way that it does?
Research either published or intended for academic journals.
How do rules that change energy efficiency standards affect individual consumers and the overall economy?
Detailed analysis of specific proposed rules from federal agencies.
What factors should we consider when creating rules for an unknown future?
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Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard Law School
OIRA Administrator (Obama)
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General Counsel, ACUS
Graduate of GW Law
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United States Senator from Oklahoma
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