Embattled federal office reports saving small businesses billions

The Office of Advocacy’s 63-page report maintains that it has aided small business. Beyond the first year savings, the office — through congressional testimony, roundtable meetings, formal comments and training at agencies — also helped ease employers’ annually occurring regulatory pain by $1.2 billion, the report said.

“Advocacy continues to work with the regulatory agencies to encourage them to consider the impact of their regulations on small entities from the beginning of rule development,” the report says.

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The office, created in 1976, is charged with making sure federal agencies take small business into consideration when adopting new rules. But two pro-regulation groups, the Center for Effective Government and the Center for Progressive Reform, issued reports last month contending that it is working at the behest of big business to block new rules from taking effect.

"Instead of focusing like a laser on advancing the unique interests of small business, it's spending too much of its time, and too many taxpayer dollars, acting as a federal outpost for big business and its anti-regulatory agenda,” said Sidney Shapiro, of Wake Forest University School of Law and a co-author of the CPR report.

The Office of Advocacy declined comment on the reports upon their release. But the National Federation of Independent Business sprang to the office’s defense, saying issues raised in the report are minor and isolated.