Report: Agencies skirt rule reporting requirements

Federal agencies are skirting their legal reporting requirements, according to a new report from the conservative American Action Forum (AAF), which found that 955 rules weren’t sent to the Government Accountability Office in 2014 and roughly 1,069 weren’t reported in 2015. 

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Under the Congressional Review Act, federal agencies are required to submit a report to Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with a copy of the rule, a statement about whether the rule carries an economic impact of $100 million or more and the rule’s effective date.

The AAF said Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Howard Shelanski vowed to resolve the problem in 2014 after The Washington Post reported that hundreds of rules had not been submitted to either Congress or the GAO. 

Still, the AFF said, the agencies are failing to follow basic reporting requirements. 

“Congress has a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of the executive, and without compliance from the administration, this oversight grows more difficult,” the group said. “Beyond the hundreds of minor rules that weren’t reported correctly, it is troubling the White House and GAO can’t even agree on major regulations.”  

The report also found the White House and the GAO had different counts for how many major rules have come from the Department of Transportation during Obama’s time in office. The White House lists 30, while GAO accounts for 24.

Though the AAF admits the discrepancy could be the result of joint rules, there are others are that can’t be explained so easily. The group said the White House listed DOT’s tire efficiency disclosures and pilot certification requirements as major rules that when reported by the GAO were listed as non-major.

And DOT isn’t alone. AAF said there are also discrepancies when it comes to rules from the Department of Energy and the Food and Drug Administration.