Committee Passes Graves-Sponsored Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013

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Washington, Sep 18, 2013 | comments
The Small Business Committee, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today reported out the bipartisan Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013 (HR 2542) by voice vote. The legislation strengthens the small business protections in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).

The RFA was signed into law in 1980, and the act requires federal agencies to assess the economic impact of their regulations on small businesses, and if the impact is significant, consider alternatives that are less burdensome before the rule is finalized. Too often, federal agencies use loopholes to bypass the RFA’s purpose. The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013 would ensure careful consideration of the consequences of rulemaking on small businesses, including indirect impacts, and require agencies to convene small business review panels. That allows opportunities for better input from small businesses on regulations in advance of new requirements.

Graves’ legislation has strong support from small business industry groups, including more than 125 associations and other entities that represent small firms who signed a September 16, 2013 letter endorsing H.R. 2542. This week, Chairman Graves presented the case for H.R. 2542 in an Op-Ed in The Hill. The bill, introduced June 28th by Graves and Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), was reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee on July 31st.

“This bill has strong support from small businesses, and it will put more common sense into the regulatory process,” said Chairman Graves. “The federal regulatory burden is one of the biggest concerns small businesses face. Congress passed the Regulatory Flexibility Act to shield small firms from unnecessarily burdensome requirements, but federal agencies are just not adhering to the purpose of this law. It’s time they do. The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act would hold agencies accountable, and put in place clear requirements that better protect small businesses. Not all regulations are bad, but they can become an unnecessarily costly and time-consuming burden on small firms. Federal agencies are churning out regulations at a record pace, and too much red tape hampers economic growth.”

To view the amendments and the votes, click HERE.

The other original cosponsors of the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013 are Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN).

Last Congress, Chairman Graves joined then-House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) to introduce the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011 (HR 527). The Small Business Committee held hearings on the bill on March 30, 2011 and June 15, 2011 and marked up the bill on July 13, 2011. On December 1, 2011, the bill passed the House by a vote of 263-159.

This year, Graves launched a new Committee initiative, called “Small Biz Reg Watch,” to help small businesses participate in the development of federal regulations. This online resource on the Committee’s website regularly highlights proposed regulations that could impact small companies and instruct business owners on how they can make comments to the federal agency developing the proposed regulation.

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