Impact of Congressional Review on FTC Decisionmaking and Rulemaking Processes

HRD-82-89: Published: Aug 17, 1982. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 1982.

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GAO discussed the impact that congressional review has had on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decisionmaking and rulemaking processes, the two final rules submitted to Congress for its review, and the action taken on these rules.

FTC has had limited experience with congressional review. As of July 20, 1982, only two final rules had been submitted for review. GAO identified only one clearly discernible impact of congressional review on the rulemaking process: FTC added a procedural step to transmit final rules to Congress. Other changes in the rulemaking process were unrelated to congressional review. FTC commissioners and staff believe that multiple factors affected FTC decisionmaking activities and that FTC decisions in the rulemaking proceedings reviewed by GAO might be attributed to congressional review in only one instance. However, GAO did find that congressional review has had a significant effect on the two rules submitted. The effective date of the games-of-chance rule was delayed by about 9 months, and Congress disapproved the used car rule on May 26, 1982, which precludes it from becoming effective. This congressional disapproval may have a future impact on FTC rulemaking and decisionmaking processes. Two FTC commissioners said that they anticipated that congressional disapproval of this rule would encourage other special interest groups to persuade Congress to disapprove future final rules. FTC commissioners and staff are concerned that industry lobbying efforts would increase while participation during the rulemaking proceedings may decrease and that congressional decisions to disapprove an FTC rule would be politically motivated.

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