Congressional Review Act

T-OGC-97-29: Published: Mar 6, 1997. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 1997.

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Robert Murphy
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GAO discussed its responsibilities in the congressional review of agency rulemakings under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), and its experience since the statute was enacted.

GAO noted that: (1) its primary role in this new mechanism is to provide the Congress with a quick review of all "major" rules submitted to determine if the promulgating agencies have complied with the procedural steps governing the regulatory process; (2) SBREFA defines a "major" rule as one which has resulted in or is likely to results in: (a) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (b) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, government agencies, or geographic regions; or (c) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation or on the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprise in domestic and export markets; (3) GAO has received 58 major rules from federal agencies, and all of its reports on these rules have been submitted by the statutory deadline; (4) with few exceptions, federal agencies have sought to comply with the requirements of SBREFA, and, for the most part, they have been successful; (5) on some occasions, where federal agencies failed to comply with SBREFA, when GAO brought the matter to the attention of agency officials, corrective action was taken; (6) one difficulty GAO has noted on a few occasions is the apparent failure of some federal agencies to budget enough time into the regulatory process to allow for the 60-day delay in the effective date of a major rule; (7) to date, GAO has received 3,609 nonmajor rules; and (8) GAO has established a database that would give minimal information about the 25 rules it receives on the average each day.

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