Regulatory Reform:

Implementation of the Regulatory Review Executive Order

T-GGD-96-185: Published: Sep 25, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the implementation of Executive Order 12866, which is intended to improve regulatory planning and review. GAO noted that: (1) the extent of federal agencies' cost-benefit analyses of proposed regulations depends on whether the regulatory action is economically significant or significant for noneconomic reasons; (2) agencies are required to provide the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) with their cost-benefit analyses of the regulatory action, but agencies often do not perform these analyses because they believe the analyses are not worth the time and effort; (3) OIRA provided cost-benefit analyses for 28 of 29 economically significant regulatory actions reviewed, but 2 of these analysis did not contain all required elements; (4) 14 significant noneconomic regulatory actions did not have cost-benefit analyses for various reasons; (5) although there was evidence of OIRA involvement in all regulations reviewed, the data was insufficient to determine whether OIRA-recommended changes were made; (6) at present, OIRA reviews are limited to only significant regulatory actions; (7) OIRA works informally with agencies during regulations' development and its influence may often be indirect and subtle; (8) for 21 of 32 rules, OIRA-suggested changes appear to have been substantive; and (9) periodic agency reviews of regulations have resulted in the elimination or revision of some regulations, but the overall regulatory burden appears not to have been significantly reduced because of regulatory obsolescence and duplication and the addition of new regulations.

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