Panel advances bill requiring more scrutiny of federal regs


Over the objections of Democrats, the panel’s Republicans sent the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013 to the full House via a 15-9 vote.

The measure is designed to protect the private sector by softening the blow of federal regulations, according to its author, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.)

“Government regulations have had a disproportionate, negative effect on business,” Bachus said during consideration of the bill.

Three agencies, under current rules, are required to convene panels to review rules expected to have a significant impact on small businesses: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The new bill would expand that requirement to rules from all agencies that would significantly impact either small businesses or the economy in general.

It also requires agencies to calculate the "indirect" costs to small business of new rules, which opponents said was too sweeping a requirement.

Democrats countered that the bill would only grind the rulemaking system to a halt by imposing exhaustive new studies.

“It will result in paralysis by analysis,” Conyers argued before the vote.