Government regulations and red tape can be a tremendous barrier to small business growth. Small businesses' regulatory compliance costs are 36 percent higher than large businesses so it is no surprise that regulations consistently rank as a top concern for small business owners. Roughly 3,300 regulations are in the pipeline this year and many of them will affect small businesses. 

Below are regulatory proposals that have been published in the Federal Register and are open for public comment. An agency publishes an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) with a proposed rule if it expects that the rule will have a significant economic impact on substantial number of small businesses. The IRFA provides information about the potential effects of the proposed rule on small businesses.  

Agencies' initial analyses of small business impacts are not always correct or complete, so the Committee on Small Business encourages small businesses to file comments through the government's online portal,, and tell federal agencies how the regulatory proposal will affect them. If you provide input to an agency, please feel free to share your concerns with the Committee through our Open Mic page.


Small Business Mentor Protégé Program

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued a proposed rule to implement provisions of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 addressing small business participation in government contracting. It would establish a government-wide mentor-protégé program for all small businesses that participate in the federal procurement marketplace, consistent with SBA's mentor-protégé program for Participants in SBA's 8(a) Business Development (BD) program and make minor changes to the mentor-protégé provisions for the 8(a) BD program. (Published 2-5-2015)


Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Warm Air Furnaces
Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The DOE has issued a proposed rule that would amend its energy conservation standards for commercial warm air furnaces. Small manufacturers of these furnaces could incur significant conversion costs to update their products to meet the new standards. (Published 2-4-2015)


Operation and Certification of Small Drones

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The FAA has issued a proposed rule to amend its regulations to adopt specific rules to allow the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems, commonly referred to as drones, in the National Airspace System. These changes would address the operation of small drones, certification of their operators, registration, and display of registration markings.  Small businesses that operate small drones would be affected. (Published 2-23-2015)


Small Creditors and Rural or Underserved Areas

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

The CFPB has issued a proposed rule that amends certain mortgage rules issued in 2013. The proposed rule revises the CFPB's regulatory definitions of small creditor, and rural and underserved areas, for purposes of certain special provisions and exemptions from various requirements provided to certain small creditors under its rules. (Published 2-11-2015)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 3-30-2015

Fair Packaging and Labeling Act Rules

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The FTC has issued a proposed rule to amend its regulations implementing the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (Act). It would expand labeling options to accommodate the rise of online media, remove unnecessary price statement prohibitions, and make other technical changes. Small companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer commodities covered by the Act would be affected. (Published 2-2-2015)


 Revisions to Small Business Government Contracting Regulations

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued a proposed rule to implement provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 addressing small business participation in government contracting.  The proposed rule would make a number changes including: changing the way limitations on the subcontracting are calculated; changing the rules on affiliation for joint ventures and teams; clarifying the responsibilities of procurement center representatives; and providing additional guidance when the size standard applied to a procurement may be appealed.  (Published 12-29-2014; Comment Extension Published 3-9-2015)


Improving EPA Regulations

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 

The EPA has issued a proposed rule seeking comment from the public on how it can improve its existing regulations. In particular, the agency is seeking input on how the agency can promote regulatory modernization through business-process streamlining, facilitated by improved technology. (Published 3-9-2015)


Safety Standard for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs)

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The CPSC has issued a proposed rule that would create lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements for ROVs and require that ROVs exhibit certain steering characteristics.  The agency is aware of 20 small importers of ROVs that could be subject to the proposal and seeks comments on how they will be affected.  (Published 11-19-2014; Comment Deadline Extension Published 1-23-2015)


Energy Conservation Standards for Hearth Products

Energy Conservation Standards for Hearth Products

The DOE has issued a proposed rule to establish a new energy conservation standard for hearth products. It would disallow the use of continuously burning pilots in hearth products. Small manufacturers of hearth products would be affected by the increased costs associated with electronic ignition systems and the added burdens could make it difficult for small manufacturers to remain competitive. (Published 2-9-2015)


Review of Federal Milk Marketing Orders

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

The AMS has issued a notice that it is reviewing the Federal Milk Marketing Order program to determine whether it should be continued without change, amended, or rescinded to minimize any significant economic impact of rules upon a substantial number of small businesses. The agency seeks comments from small businesses on the program. (Published 2-11-2015)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 4-13-2015

Electronic Distribution of Prescribing Information for Human Prescription Drugs

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA has issued a proposed rule to amend its prescription drug and biological product labeling regulations to require electronic distribution of the prescribing information intended for health care professionals.  Drug manufacturers, repackers, relabelers, and manufacturers or repackers of private label drugs would incur short-term costs associated with the new labeling requirements.  Physicians and pharmacists could incur both short-run and long-run costs, including acquiring new computer and printing equipment and printing costs. (Published 12-18-2014)


Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA has issued a request for information.  The department is seeking input from the public on whether any existing significant regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.  (Published 3-17-2015)


Requirements for Vessels Conducting Outer Continental Shelf Activities
United States Coast Guard (Coast Guard)

The Coast Guard has issued a proposed rule that would establish minimum design, operation, training, and manning standards for mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) and other vessels engaging in Outer Continental Shelf activities.  The agency seeks comment on how small MODUs and offshore supply vessels will be affected by the proposal (Published 11-28-2014; Comment Deadline Extension Published 2-6-2015)


Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces

Department of Energy (DOE)

The DOE has issued a proposed rule to amend energy conservation standards for residential non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home furnaces.  In comparison to large manufacturers of these types of furnaces, small manufacturers would face greater capital and product conversion costs. (Published 3-12-2015)


Regulatory Resources 

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments