Operating or Rulemaking? Reviewing SBA’s Opaque Standard Operating Procedure Process
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations questioned Joseph Loddo, the Chief Operating Officer at the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), about SBA’s lack of transparency regarding its standard operating procedures (SOPs) process.
“SOPs instruct SBA employees how to do their job. They help program participants understand their responsibilities. They clarify laws and regulations,” said Subcommittee Chairman Trent Kelly (R-MS). ”This Committee has been concerned for some time that the agency’s SOPs are doing more than just that.
Rep. Kelly continued, “Specifically, we are concerned that SBA is making legislative binding rules outside of the rulemaking process. They are not required to solicit public input.”
Bureaucrats Writing Law
The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) establishes the requirements agencies must meet when creating rules and regulations. It ensures that agencies must provide notice to the public and allow time for comment. However, agencies including the SBA, are not required to go through these steps when creating their SOPs.
The Small Business Committee has requested a briefing on the SOP process for several months. SBA has still not provided it.
“I think that y’all can do a whole lot better job of making sure that when we send requests whether it’s from staff or the actual Member that you comply with that,” said Subcommittee Chairman Trent Kelly (R-MS). “I know that from the military and certainly with soldiers, when you’re hiding something—even if it’s not bad, I’m going to think it’s bad. It’s the same way with any other organization.”
The Small Business Committee works hard to ease the burden of regulations on small businesses, across industries and across our country. The Committee wants to ensure that the SBA—and other agencies—are not rulemaking through their standard operating procedures.Click here to watch the full video, and here to read the full testimony.