Regulatory Reform: Major Rules Submitted for Congressional Review During the First 2 Years

GGD-98-102R: Apr 24, 1998

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the major rules submitted to Congress during the first 2 years that the congressional review provisions in the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) were in effect, focusing on: (1) how many major rules were issued during this period; (2) which agencies issued the rules; (3) how many of the rules had notices of proposed rulemaking; and (4) which regulatory statutes and executive orders the agencies commonly cite in the reports that SBREFA requires the agencies to submit.

GAO noted that: (1) federal agencies sent GAO 122 rules that they and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs said were major during the first 2 years that SBREFA's congressional review provisions were in effect; (2) most of these rules were issued by four executive departments and agencies and two independent regulatory agencies; (3) the rules varied substantially in terms of whether they had notices of proposed rulemaking and the time elapsed between final rulemaking an any proposed rules; (4) the agencies indicated that the rules also varied regarding the applicability of certain statutory and executive order rule-making requirements; and (5) on several occasions, federal agencies did not delay the effective dates of their major rules for the required 60 days to allow time for congressional review.