By Sofie E. Miller & Daniel R. Pérez
On March 29th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship met to consider legislative reforms that would affect how small businesses confront and shape regulations. This prepared statement for the record focuses on S. 584: Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act. The analysis suggests that the Committee should: be careful to avoid the problem of double-counting indirect costs, use an evidence-based regulation framework to strengthen retrospective review, and safeguard against unintentionally reducing the efficacy of the existing Small Business Advocacy Review process.
Agency Use of Science in the Rulemaking Process: Proposals for Improving Transparency and Accountability
By Susan E. Dudley
As the Senate subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management considers proposals for improving transparency and accountability in agencies’ use of science in the rulemaking process, it should recognize two problems. “Hidden policy judgments” occur when scientists, intentionally or unintentionally, insert, but do not disclose, their own policy preferences in the scientific advice they provide government decision-makers. The “science charade” occurs when scientists and/or policymakers conflate scientific information and nonscientific judgments to make a policy choice, but then present that decision as being solely based on science.
By Richard J. Pierce
When you combine the effects of the Executive Orders that forbid an agency from issuing a rule with costs that exceed its benefits to society with the effects of the Executive Orders that require agencies to identify and to rescind or amend any existing rule with costs that exceed its social benefits, you get a regulatory budget that maximizes the net social benefits created by rules issued by federal agencies by ensuring that the aggregate social benefits of those rules exceed the aggregate costs of those rules. That is a sensible version of a regulatory budget. Any version of a regulatory budget that considers only the cost of rules and ignores the benefits of rules will reduce social welfare by costing society hundreds of billions of dollars in the forms of loss of lives, increased injuries and illnesses, and damage to property.
By Sofie E. Miller
In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Senior Policy Analyst Sofie E. Miller explains that one-size-fits-all energy efficiency standards can deprive consumers of the ability purchase the appliances that best suit their unique circumstances and constraints. As a result, these regulations cost consumers rather than benefiting them, as the Department of Energy posits. In addition, these standards disparately impact low- and median-income households, and current analyses of their effects suggest that these populations bear significant costs as a result.
The Federal Government on Autopilot: Delegation of Regulatory Authority to an Unaccountable Bureaucracy
By Sofie E. Miller
In testimony before the House Task Force on Executive Overreach, Senior Policy Analyst Sofie E. Miller explains that retrospective review is a key component of an effective regulatory process because it allows agencies to review whether existing rules are accomplishing their intended goals and to determine what effect they have on the regulated public. Miller argues that writing rules at the outset to facilitate this measurement can improve outcomes and enable policymakers to learn from what has worked and what hasn’t.
By Sofie E. Miller
Since Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, new information has become available about the effects of mandated biofuel production indicating that the environmental effects are significant and negative. This invited testimony for the record examines evidence from the existing literature, which finds that biofuel production produces criteria pollutants, damages water systems from crop fertilizer runoff, and may not reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to gasoline. Given this evidence, Congress should reevaluate the goals of the program and put the program on a sustainable trajectory.
By Susan E. Dudley, Director
The Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee held a hearing on Thursday September 16, at which they asked Susan Dudley to provide expert input on six regulatory reform proposals scheduled for markup. Her testimony complimented the Committee on the constructive, bipartisan reforms, which if passed, could bring about real improvements in regulatory procedures and outcomes. She offered detailed comments on each bill, of which three focus on evaluating the effects of existing regulations and modifying them as appropriate, and three focus on enhancing analytical procedures conducted before new regulations are issued.
By Susan E. Dudley, Director
On June 23, RSC scholars Susan Dudley and Richard Pierce and President of the Canadian Treasury Board, Tony Clement, testified during a joint hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget and Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Dudley testified in support of a regulatory budget and cited the potential for constructive debate on the real impacts of regulations, greater transparency, more efficient allocation of resources, and ultimately the potential for more cost-effective achievement of public priorities.
Pierce: Accounting for the True Cost of Regulation: Exploring the Possibility of a Regulatory Budget
Richard J. Pierce, Jr., GW Lyle T. Alverson Professor of Law
On June 23, RSC scholar and GW Professor of Law Richard Pierce, RSC Director Susan Dudley, and President of the Canadian Treasury Board, Tony Clement, testified during a joint hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget and Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Pierce testified in strong support of a regulatory budget but urged the dire importance of using benefit-cost analysis when considering any recommendations. He explains that there are two versions of a regulatory budget that would harm the nation.
Susan E. Dudley, Director
Though regulation affects every aspect of our lives, as a policy tool it rarely reaches the attention of voters (and consequently of elected officials) because, unlike the federal budget, its effects are often not visible. This testimony offers recommendations in four areas that may meet the Subcommittee's request for "common sense ideas that could garner bipartisan support and provide immediate improvement to the federal regulatory process." These are 1) codifying regulatory impact analysis requirements, 2) providing for earlier analysis and public input on new regulations, 3) increasing resources for regulatory oversight, and 4) being mindful of regulatory consequences when passing new legislation.