How A Broken Process Leads To Flawed Regulations

Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing Date: September 14, 2011 12:00 am

Chairman Issa Hearing Preview Statement

Just recently, in a decision to halt the implementation of a controversial job-killing regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency, President Barack Obama recognized the “importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty” in the economy. While President Obama has spoken about, and even launched an effort to evaluate regulations that create unnecessary burdens, regulatory agencies under his administration have gone the opposite direction.

The number of proposed rules has increased from 2,044 in 2009 to 2,439 in 2010.  Regulatory agencies have seen their budgets grow by 16 percent over the past three years.  As Investor’s Business Daily summarized, “[i]f the federal government’s regulatory operation were a business, it would be one of the 50 biggest in the country in terms of revenues, and the third-largest in terms of employees, with more people working for it than McDonald’s, Ford, Disney and Boeing combined.”   Employment at regulatory agencies has climbed 13 percent since President Obama took office, and the number of staff working on regulatory matters is on schedule to increase at a rate of 10,000 new regulatory employees per year in 2011 and 2012.  The number of full time regulatory employees is expected to reach an all-time high of 291,676 in 2012.  Meanwhile, since President Obama took office, private sector jobs have declined by 5.6 percent.

Wednesday’s hearing, “How the Administrative State has Broken Obama’s Promise of Regulatory Reform will examine the effects of broken regulations on businesses and working Americans.  The hearing will also seek answers from the Administration about how, despite apparent orders to the contrary, regulators are advancing new rules in ways intended to avoiding meaningful scrutiny by employing numerous gimmicks:

  • Refusing to perform accurate cost-benefit analysis
  • Overturning decades of precedent without justification
  • Entering into sue and settle agreements
  • Enacting policy changes through guidance documents
  • Improperly issuing emergency rulemakings

The regulatory process is broken, being manipulated and exploited in an effort to reward allies of the Obama Administration such as environmental groups, trial lawyers, and unions.  Regulators have, in too many instances, been willing accomplices in the strategy advanced by outside interest groups to circumvent the oversight and accountability checks in the regulatory process.  This hearing will seek answers that lead to reforms and ultimately create jobs.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
John Graham, Ph.D. Dean, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs Former Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Panel 1 Document
Mrs. Robbie LeValley Co-owner, Homestead Meats and Member of the Board of Directors, National Cattlemen's Beef Association Document
Mr. David Arkush Director Public Citizen's Congress Watch Document
Mr. David Barker Owner Vida Preciosa International, Inc. Document
Mr. Mathew Palmer Flight Attendant Delta Air Lines (testifying on his own behalf) Document
The Honorable Cass Sunstein Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Office of Management and Budget Panel 2 Document

Related Documents

Name Document
Staff Report: "Broken Government: How the Administrative State has Broken President Obama's Promise of Regulatory Reform" Document