Written by Steve Van Beek
On Thursday, NAFCU joined 87 other trade associations in sending letters of support to Congress for the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2013 (H.R. 2122 and S. 1029). Here is a snippet from the House letter (identical language in the Senate letter):
"Our regulatory process has not been updated in more than six decades, and as a result we are seeing a rising number of massive, costly rules that breed uncertainty, drive up costs, and stifle hiring and investment. This legislation, which would modernize the 66-year old Administrative Procedure Act, would improve the process by which federal agencies promulgate regulations to improve accountability and the integrity of the rulemaking process.
Small and large businesses alike consistently cite growing regulatory burdens and the uncertainty that occurs when badly-written regulations must be corrected through years of litigation as the most significant obstacles to new hiring."
This isn't just a financial institutions issue - check out some of the other signatories of the letters:
- Aeronautical Repair Station Association
- Associated Wire Rope Fabricators
- Flexible Packaging Association
- Shipbuilders Council of America
- Window & Door Manufacturers Association
A pretty diverse crowd.
What would the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2013 do? It would make substantial changes to the rulemaking process used by federal regulators - including these three improvements that I personally endorse (from H.R. 2122):
"(b) RULE MAKING CONSIDERATIONS - In a rule making, an agency shall make all preliminary and final factual determinations based on evidence and consider, in addition to other applicable considerations, the following:
(4) Whether existing rules have created or contributed to the problem the agency may address with a rule and whether those rules could be amended or rescinded to address the problem in whole or part."
"(c) ADVANCE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING FOR MAJOR RULES, HIGH-IMPACT RULES, AND RULES INVOLVING NOVEL LEGAL OR POLICY ISSUES - In the case of a rule making for a major rule or high-impact rule or a rule that involves a novel legal or policy issue arising out of statutory mandates, not later than 90 days before a notice of proposed rule making is published in the Federal Register, an agency shall publish advance notice of proposed rule making in the Federal Register."
"(k) RULE MAKING GUIDELINES -
(2) The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs shall also issue guidelines to promote coordination, simplification and harmonization of agency rules during the rule making process and otherwise. Such guidelines shall assure that each agency avoids regulations that are inconsistent or incompatible with, or duplicative of, its other regulations and those of other Federal agencies and drafts its regulations to be simple and easy to understand, with the goal of minimizing the potential for uncertainty and litigation arising from such uncertainty."
To sum up - those three provisions would:
- Require regulators to consider their existing rules when writing new regulations;
- Issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) prior to proposing a major rule; and
- Require regulators to avoid regulations that are inconsistent or incompatible with other regulations and draft regulations in simple and easy to understand language.
Again - NAFCU was happy to sign on to the letters.