Notice & Comment

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on the Regulatory Accountability Act, by Lynn White

On July 9, 2013, the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law held a hearing on H.R. 2122 (S. 1029), the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2013.  The bill would update the Administrative Procedures Act to reform how agencies promulgate regulations.

During the 109th Congress, the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law initiated the Administrative Law Process and Procedure Project for the 21st Century which included a comprehensive study of administrative law and process and made recommendations for improvement.  H.R. 2122 is an outgrowth of the recommendations the Subcommittee published in the Interim Report on the Administrative Law Process and Procedure Project for the 21st Century.

In particular, H.R. 2122 codifies some of the core requirements of Executive Orders (EOs) 12866 and 13563, which establish guidelines for federal agency rulemaking.  Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) stated that H.R. 2122 takes long established best practices from EOs 12866/13563 and makes them legally binding.  This includes requiring cost benefit analysis and greater input from the regulated community early in the rulemaking process for high-impact regulations.  Chairman Goodlatte stressed the need to modernize the Administrative Procedures Act so that it reflects that current state of rulemaking.

Some opponents of the legislation suggest that it will slow down the rulemaking process.  Proponents of the bill state that it “will improve the accountability and integrity of the rulemaking process.”

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

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