Recommendations > Recommendation Detail

The Challenge: U.S. Regulations Must Protect the Consumer While Allowing the Economy to Grow

From the regulatory failures that helped produce the 2008 financial sector meltdown to the complex permitting processes that can sometimes hold back important infrastructure projects, getting the regulatory balance right ensures appropriate protections for the American people while enhancing American competitiveness.

Jobs Council Recommendation: Reform Regulation to Reflect 21st Century Realities and Global Best Practices

At the Jobs Council’s urging, the Administration has already taken a number of important reform measures to reduce the regulatory burden on American businesses and encourage economic growth. The Jobs Council urges the Administration and Congress to pursue further regulatory process improvements. The Council aims by 2020 to ensure that the U.S. leads the world in regulatory competitiveness, which could boost economic activity, job creation, and per capita income even as we ensure the health and safety of the American people.

Earlier Public Outreach and Disclosure of Data and Costs. The regulatory process should be open and transparent and should engage those affected at an early stage in the process. When developing rules that are likely to have significant economic impact, agencies should gather wide-ranging input from affected parties on the scope and nature of the problem to be solved, and the benefits and costs of possible alternative solutions, before deciding whether or how to regulate. One possible tool for this public outreach is the expanded use of advance notices of proposed rulemaking (ANPRMs).

Regulatory Ombudsmen. Agencies should establish ombudsmen or even a separate, independent office within the agency to reach out to regulated parties for their feedback, solicit public comments on which regulations are dated or too burdensome, and help with the process of regulatory streamlining and improving existing rules.

Regulatory Portal. The Council recommends that the Administration create a “regulatory portal” that presents a variety of information about regulatory requirements for each sector of the economy in an easy to read format and a centralized location.

Guidance Documents. There needs to be a clear distinction between guidance documents and rule making.  Guidance should not be legally binding.  To this end, OIRA should update and reaffirm existing OMB “guidance on guidance” to ensure a process for timely guidance and comments is in place.

Reconsideration of Final Rules. OIRA should develop guidelines for how agencies should respond to petitions for reconsideration of final rules.  OIRA should also ensure that agencies conduct proper analysis to ensure that rules do not have a disproportionate effect on small businesses, per the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), after undertaking interim final rules (i.e., complete the certification or required RFA analysis before issuing the “final” final rule).

Permitting Program Management Office. A formal Program Management Office (PMO) should be created and led by OMB to ensure that the infrastructure permitting prioritization initiative is sustainable and achieves results. The PMO would establish overall objectives and specific performance metrics, identify barriers, track progress, establish incentive and penalty structures, and regularly report to the public on best practices and lessons learned.

Permitting “One-Stop Shop.”  The Administration should work with Congress to pilot an approach to consolidated permitting on a small number of large scale projects. This one-stop-shop would work with federal and local authorities to grant necessary federal, state and local approvals in order to expedite projects.

Aligning International Regulatory Standards. The Administration should seek better alignment between U.S. regulations and the well-crafted regulatory approaches of major trading partners, where feasible and appropriate. This would reduce unnecessary costs, burdens, and delays that hinder global market access—particularly for small and medium-sized companies that rely on exports to grow their businesses and hire workers.

Independent Third-Party Analysis of Regulations. Congress should consider commissioning periodic independent reports on the cumulative cost and benefits of regulations stemming from key authorizing legislation, and evaluate what the impact has been on public welfare and GDP.

Review of Rules and Their Impact. At the Jobs Council’s urging, the Administration has initiated a government-wide review of existing federal regulations to identify rules that can be streamlined or eliminated. OIRA should develop and implement a system for retrospective review going forward, including analysis of the continuing relevance of the rule, its optimal design, lessons learned and best practices, and, for economically significant rules, an opportunity for the public to comment on the costs and benefits of the rule in its current form.

Require Regulatory Impact Analysis for IRCs. Congress should require independent regulatory commissions (IRCs) to conduct cost-benefit analysis for economically significant regulations.

Adequately Staff the Regulatory Review Process. The Jobs Council recommends that OIRA staff be increased to a level that will permit it to conduct meaningful reviews of both executive branch and independent agency regulations.