Committee Examines Efforts to Reduce Red Tape with OIRA Administrator Howard Shelanski

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Washington, Jul 24, 2013 | comments

The Small Business Committee, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), today held a hearing examining the Obama administration’s review process to reduce red tape. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator Howard Shelanski testified.

The hearing examined the effectiveness and results of federal agency reviews of existing regulations, as required by two Executive Orders. Today’s hearing expanded on the testimony from the Committee’s May hearing on the increasing regulatory burden on small firms despite retrospective reviews.

“I am concerned that the retrospective review process isn’t yielding meaningful regulatory cost reductions for small businesses,” said Chairman Graves. “A review is only effective if agencies take it seriously and find ways to make genuine improvements for entrepreneurs and small companies. Agencies have primarily focused their efforts on minor paperwork reduction and streamlining efforts instead of reviewing existing significant regulations and reducing burdens. At the same time, the Obama Administration is heaping new regulations on small businesses and there are more to come as agencies promulgate new regulations to implement the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Act and the President’s Climate Action Plan. This is a great cause for concern for millions of small businesses and the Committee.”

Over the last four years, major rules alone have added nearly $70 billion in new regulatory costs. Ten years ago in Fiscal Year 2003, there were 6 major rules imposing annual costs of about $2 billion. By Fiscal Year 2012, 14 new major rules imposed an additional $14.8 to $19.5 billion in annual costs, according to the Office of Management and Budget, making 2012 the costliest year on record for federal regulation.

The latest U.S. Chamber of Commerce second quarter survey of more than 1,300 small business owners, released last week, found that their top three concerns were the requirements of the health care law, followed by regulations and economic uncertainty. “Regulatory concerns contribute to the uncertainty that small business owners face when planning for the future,” notes the executive summary. When the survey asked what they would like to see from Washington, 85 percent responded that Washington should get out of the way, while 63 percent are worried about what will come next from Washington.

Materials for the hearing are posted on the House Small Business Committee’s website HERE.

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