Sunshine Week: Hiding Rules from American Public
March 14, 2013
The first day President Obama took office in 2009 the White House website declared his Administration would become "the most open and transparent in history." Obama issued high-profile orders pledging "a new era" and "an unprecedented level of openness" across the massive federal government.
During "Sunshine Week," March 10 - 16, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Republicans are working to remind the Administration of their transparency pledge to the American people.
Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, federal agencies are required to publish a regulatory agenda each April and October. Per an Executive Order, the agendas are published with the biannual Unified Agenda. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is tasked with collecting each agency's agenda in preparation of the Unified Agenda. Guess who hasn't submitted theirs yet?
Hiding Rules from American Public
Disregard Regulatory Process: The 2012 Spring Unified Agenda was delayed for an unprecedented ten months. To date the 2012 Fall Unified Agenda is still unpublished.
Play the Blame Game: OIRA told Congress in October that agencies were still submitting their agendas; yet EPA has failed to respond to Congressional requests for basic submission dates. It appears OIRA withheld the Agenda until after the 2012 election and decided to publish the agenda on the last business day before Christmas, when they believed as few people as possible might see it.
Economic Consequences: The Agenda is designed to give job creators the opportunity to plan ahead for new regulations, without proper lead-time, businesses are left with uncertainty, which can halt capital investments and job growth. Even a conservative estimate of EPA regulations in the Agenda show nearly $350 billion in annual compliance costs.
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