Background

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, Regulations.gov, 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.



 
Inflation Adjustment to Small Business Size Standards

​Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has proposed an interim final rule adjusting the monetary based industry small business size standards for inflation that has occurred since the last adjustment in 2008.  SBA estimates that this rule will enable approximately 8,600 firms to gain small business status and become eligible for federal financial assistance and procurement programs. (Published 6-12-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-11-2014

Agricultural Worker Protection Standard for Pesticides

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA has issued a proposed rule that updates and revises their existing worker protection regulation for pesticides.   The proposed rule will affect over 300,000 small farms, nurseries, and greenhouses, and several hundred small commercial entities that are contracted to apply pesticides. (Published 3-19-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 8-18-2014

Definition of "Waters of the United States" Under the Clean Water Act
 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
Department of Defense, Department of Army, Corps of Engineers (Corps)

The EPA and Corps have proposed a rule to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” for the purpose of identifying which waters are subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA).  Under the proposed rule, all tributaries (including rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, impoundments, canals and ditches unless excluded in the definition) and all adjacent waters and wetlands will be subject to CWA jurisdiction, permitting and other requirements.  On a case-by-case basis, EPA and the Corps could assert CWA jurisdiction over “other waters.”  Small businesses, such as farmers, ranchers, home builders and transportation construction firms, which carry out activities and projects on land with jurisdictional waters, may face new costs from permit applications, compensatory mitigation, and project delays, redesigns and relocations. (Published
4-21-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-20-2014
 




Clarification of South Florida and Imported Avocado Grade Requirements

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

The AMS has issued a proposed rule that would change the minimum grade requirements currently prescribed under the Florida avocado marketing order and make a technical correction to the avocado import regulation. Small South Florida avocado producers and importers may be affected. (Published 6-23-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 7-23-2014

Chinook Salmon Bycatch Management in the Gulf of Alaska

Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA has proposed a rule to limit Chinook salmon prohibited species catch in Western and Central Gulf of Alaska.  Small catcher vessels and processors that operate in the Western and Central Gulf of Alaska area may be affected. (Published 6-25-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 7-25-2014

Steller Sea Lion Protection Measures
 
Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule that would ensure  groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area off Alaska do not jeopardize the Steller sea lion population levels. Small businesses operating trawl catcher/processors and catcher vessels and non-trawl catcher/processors and catcher vessels fishing for Atka mackerel and Pacific cod in the three Aleutian Island management areas may be affected. (Published 7-1-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 7-25-2014

Prior Authorization Process for Certain Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies

Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

The CMS has issued a proposed rule that would establish a prior authorization process for certain durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) items that are frequently subject to unnecessary utilization.  Ninety to 95 percent of DMEPOS suppliers and practitioners who order DMEPOS are small entities and would be affected. (Published 5-28-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 7-28-2014

Amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement

Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD has proposed a rule to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to allow automated contract writing systems to be used. The department seeks comment from small defense contractors that would be affected. (Published 5-28-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 7-28-2014

Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors

Department of Labor (DOL)

The DOL has proposed a rule that would require new government contracts to include a clause establishing a $10.10 minimum wage beginning January 1, 2015.  Thereafter, DOL will annually determine the minimum wage for federal contractors.  When the rule is fully implemented, between 315,902 and 328,552 small firms would be affected. (Published 6-17-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 7-28-2014

Safety Standards for Infant and Toddler Products
 
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The CPSC has issued a proposed rule which adds new safety standards for frame child carriers designed for infants or toddlers.  Small manufacturers and importers of these products will be affected. (Published 5-16-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 7-30-2014

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Flatfish Harvest Specifications Flexibility

Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule that would establish a process for Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) groups and cooperatives to exchange harvest quota from certain flatfish species for an equal amount of those flatfish species, while maintaining total catch below acceptable biological catch limits. Small CDQ groups in Western Alaska may be affected. (Published 6-30-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 7-30-2014

Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA has issued a proposed rule to amend its labeling regulations for conventional foods and dietary supplements to provide updated nutrition information on the label.  Among other changes, the proposed rule would include an update of the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared.  Small food manufacturers will be affected. (Published 3-3-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-1-2014

Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


The FDA has issued a proposed rule to amend its regulations on serving sizes based on newer consumption data and other current scientific evidence.  The proposed rule makes several changes including amending the definition of a single-serving container.  Small food manufacturers will be affected. (Published 3-3-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-1-2014
 

Broadcast Ownership Rules

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC has issued a proposed rule that would make changes to its broadcast ownership rules.  The agency estimates that over 1,500 small television broadcasting stations, 1,200 small commercial television stations, and over 11,000 small radio stations will be affected. (Published 5-20-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-4-2014

Test Procedures for Dehumidifiers

Department of Energy (DOE)

The DOE has issued a proposed rule that would revise test procedures for dehumidifiers by adding clarifications for equipment setup during testing and correcting the calculations of active mode energy use and efficiency metrics.  The agency estimates that there are five small manufacturers of dehumidifiers would be affected. (Published 5-21-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-4-2014

Test Procedures for LED Lamps

Department of Energy (DOE)

The DOE has issued a supplemental proposed rule that would revise test procedures for manufacturers of light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.  The agency estimates that 41 small manufacturers of LED lamps would be subject to the revised test procedures and may incur compliance costs of approximately $100,000 in the first year. (Published 6-3-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-4-2014

Replacement of Groundfish Vessels

Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule that would allow the owner of a Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area groundfish vessel covered under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) to rebuild or replace and remove inactive vessels from the AFA fishery.  The agency expects 21 AFA catcher/processors will face increased reporting and recordkeeping requirements as part of the proposal. (Published 6-3-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-4-2014

American Fisheries Act Vessels

Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule that would allow an American Fisheries Act vessel owner to rebuild or replace the vessel without limitation on the length, weight, or horsepower of the rebuilt or replacement vessel when it is operating in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.  Catcher vessels, catcher/processor vessels, and motherships that are small businesses would be affected. (Published 6-18-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-4-2014

Special Management Zones for Five Delaware Artificial Reefs
 
Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule to implement Special Management Zones for five Delaware artificial reefs under the black sea bass provisions of the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan.  Shellfish and finfish vessels that harvest in these areas would be affected. (Published 6-19-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-4-2014

Tobacco Products Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA has issued a proposed rule that would deem products that meet the definition of “tobacco product”  subject to certain tobacco control authorities. Small manufacturers of  tobacco products will be affected. (Published 4-25-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-8-2014

Reporting of Nonconforming Items

Department of Defense (DOD);
General Services Administration (GSA);
National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)       
              

The DOD, GSA, and NASA have issued a proposed rule that would require expanded government and contractor reporting of noncoforming items procured by the Government. This rule has the potential to increase the reporting requirements of approximately 85,000 small entities doing business with the federal government. (Published 6-10-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-11-2014

Service Contract Reporting

Department of Defense (DOD)     

The DOD is proposing to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to require contractors to annually report service contract data using an online DOD database.  The agency estimates that nearly 8,000 small businesses will be subject to the rule. (Published 6-5-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-14-2014

Energy Labeling Rule

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The FTC has proposed a rule to make changes to its existing Energy Labeling Rule.  The proposed rule would expand coverage of the Lighting Facts label, change the current label categories for refrigerators and revise the ceiling fan label design.  Small light bulb manufacturers and online and paper catalog sellers of covered products will be affected. (Published 6-18-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-18-2014

National Emission Standards for Off-Site Waste and Recovery Operations

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued a proposed rule that would amend the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for off-site waste and recovery operations. Small energy production firms, refineries, manufacturers, and waste treatment facilities that are involved in the off-site waste and recovery operations sector may be affected. (Published 7-1-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 8-18-2014

Review of the Mango Promotion, Research, and Information Order

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

The AMS is reviewing the Mango Promotion, Research, and Information Order which is administered by the National Mango Board and is seeking comments from affected small businesses.  The review will determine whether the Order should be continued without change, amended, or rescinded to minimize its impacts on small businesses. (Published 6-20-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 8-19-2014

Air Travel Consumer Protections

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The DOT has issued proposed rules that would enhance protections for air travelers and improve the air travel environment. The agency expects that a total of 87 small U.S. and foreign air carriers may be affected by this rulemaking and seeks comment its expected impact. (Published 5-23-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-21-2014

Clarification of Specialty Metals Restrictions

Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD is proposing to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to clarify the applicability of requirements for the acquisition of certain articles that contain specialty metals.  Small defense contractors and subcontractors may be affected. (Published 6-23-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-22-2014

Animal Welfare Regulations for Defense Contracting

Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD has issued a proposed rule that would amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to comply with the DOD Instruction that addresses the use of animals in DOD programs. Small defense contractors may be affected. (Published 6-24-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

Notification of Afghan Tax Requirements for Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan

Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD has proposed a rule to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to notify contractors of requirements relating to Afghan taxes. Small defense contractors may be affected. (Published 6-24-2014)

IRFA - YES | ​COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

Advisory Small Business Size Decisions

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued a proposed rule to establish a safe harbor from misrepresentation penalties for parties that erroneously claim to be a small business if the party relied in good faith upon a Small Business Development Center or Procurement Technical Assistance Center small business status advisory opinion.  The proposed rule also defines what constitutes an adequate advisory opinion and updates the circumstances under which SBA may initiate a formal size determination. (Posted 6-25-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions
 
Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD has proposed a rule to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to address DOD-unique requirements for defense contractors performing private security functions outside the United States.  Small defense contractors may be affected. (Published 6-25-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

Amendments to Pollution Standards for Petroleum Refineries
 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued a proposed rule to amend the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for petroleum refineries based on the results of the agency's review of developments in practices, processes and control technologies.  The proposed rule includes new monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements.  Small refiners will be affected. (Published 6-30-2014) 

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-29-2014

Home Health Prospective Payment System Rates

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)


The HHS has issued a proposed rule that would update the Home Health Prospective Payment System rates, including the national, standardized 60-day episode payment rates, the national per-visit rates, and the non-routine medical supply conversion factor under the Medicare prospective payment system for home health agencies, effective January 1, 2015. Small healthcare providers and medical suppliers will be affected. (Published 7-7-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-2-2014

Changes to Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat
 
Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS);
Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)


The FWS and NMFS have issued a proposed rule that would amend existing regulations governing the designation of critical habitat under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act.  Small businesses may be affected. (Published 6-26-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-9-2014

Amendments to Definition of Destruction or Adverse Modification of Critical Habitat
 
Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS);
Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)


The FWS and NMFS have issued a proposed rule that would amend the existing regulations governing section 7 consultation under the Endangered Species Act to revise the definition of “destruction or adverse modification” of critical habitat.  Small businesses may be affected. (Published 6-26-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-9-2014

Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued proposed emission guidelines for states to follow in developing plans to address greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants.  State-specific emissions goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector are included in the proposal.  States will establish standards that could affect small public power utilities and rural electric cooperatives. (Published 6-18-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-16-2014

Carbon Pollution Standards for Modified and Reconstructed Power Plants
 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued proposed standards of performance to limit emissions of carbon dioxide from modified and reconstructed power plants.  Separate numeric standards have been proposed for different types of fossil fuel-fired electric utility steam generating units and natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbines.  Small public power utilities and rural electric cooperatives could be affected. (Published 6-18-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-16-2014


Regulatory Resources
 

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments