Executive Order Should Be Extended to All Regulators

Jan 20, 2011

As you probably know, the big news yesterday was the President’s Executive Order requiring federal agencies to review all regulations "that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive." Tom Donohue called  the move "a positive first step" while noting that, "a robust and globally competitive economy requires fundamental reform of our broken regulatory system." He called on Congress to "reclaim some of the authority it has delegated to the agencies and implement effective checks and balances on agency power."

It also appears, as noted in the New York Times story, among others, that the Executive Order exempts independent agencies. According to the Times:

That includes those, like the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve, which currently are writing new rules for banks and other institutions that are mandated by the new law aimed at preventing another financial crisis. And it includes others like the Federal Communications Commission that have sway over large sectors of the economy.

By our account, it would also include agencies like the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and others*--no strangers to regulation.

If it's true, we would hope that these agencies nevertheless would apply the principles of the Executive Order.

* Here's the full list as defined by 44 USC 3502:

(5) the term "independent regulatory agency" means:

  • the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • the Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • the Federal Communications Commission
  • the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • the Federal Housing Finance Board
  • the Federal Maritime Commission
  • the Federal Trade Commission
  • the Interstate Commerce Commission
  • the Mine Enforcement Safety and Health Review Commission
  • the National Labor Relations Board
  • the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
  • the Postal Rate Commission
  • the Securities and Exchange Commission,
  • and any other similar agency designated by statute as a Federal independent regulatory agency or commission; 

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