Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO updated its previous reports on agencies' use of the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions to publish final rule notices, focusing on: (1) how many agencies had no Agenda entries that were characterized as Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) of 1980, section 610 reviews, whether agencies are interpreting the review requirements consistently, and why certain agencies that appeared subject to the requirements had no entries; (2) how many of the section 610 review entries in these Agendas appeared to meet the notification requirements in subsection 610(c); (3) if the section 610 review entries did not appear to meet the statutory requirements, why certain agencies' entries were characterized as section 610 reviews; and (4) whether any federal agencies had revised their section 610 review plans.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|If Congress is concerned that section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act has been subject to varying interpretations, it may wish to consider specifying whether section 610 reviews should be done of rules that had a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (SEISNSE) at the time they were published as final rules or whether such reviews should be done of rules that, at the time of the review, have a SEISNSE.||Congress has not amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601-612) to clarify the meaning of section 610.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs||In fulfilling his responsibilities under Executive Order 12866 to specify how agencies should prepare their agendas, the Acting Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), should instruct agencies that choose to use the Unified Agenda to satisfy the requirements of subsection 610(c) of the RFA on how to do so. Specifically, the Acting OIRA Administrator should require agencies to indicate in the notation after the entry titles whether their section 610 review entries are forthcoming reviews (with the notation New Section 610 Review) or report the results of previously conducted reviews (with the notation Results of Section 610 Review).|
|Regulatory Information Service Center||The Acting Executive Director, Regulatory Information Service Center (RISC), should reflect this difference between forthcoming and completed section 610 reviews in the Unified Agenda's index to entries that agencies have designated for section 610 review.|
|Regulatory Information Service Center||The Acting Executive Director, RISC, should clarify whether the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required field in a section 610 review entry refers to the underlying rule being reviewed or to the effect of the review itself.|