Regulatory Review Roundtable Runs Into Overtime

Ok. So, it’s a new Administration, a new Congress, and new times for the small business legislative and regulatory world.  Congress is holding hearings on the midnight regulations that went into effect at the end of President Bush’s term. At the same time, President Obama issued a memorandum on January 30 directing the Office of Management and Budget to take a fresh look at EO 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” which dates to the Clinton era.  Hmmm . . .  Seems like the perfect time for a regulatory reform roundtable to talk about EO 12866 and the Congressional Review Act  (CRA).


Who better to speak on a panel on 12866 than American University Professor Jeff Lubbers, who wrote the book on federal agency rulemaking; Paul Noe, a former counsel to OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; and Jim Tozzi, the former deputy administrator of OMB?  What a treat!  Jeff provided a wonderful backdrop for the discussion by explaining the history and purpose of 12866.  Paul talked about what should change and what should stay the same. And Jim talked about the small business implications of 12866.  Their opening statements were followed by an energetic exchange of ideas by the panelists. It was so lively that we went over time and still had some things left that could have been discussed.


How do you follow a show like that? Well, it’s hard but our Congressional Review Act panelists rose to the occasion. First, the Congressional Research Service’s regulatory expert, Curtis Copeland, provided background information about the Congressional Review Act. Two authorities from the House Small Business Committee gave some insight from the standpoint of Congress—Barry Pineles, minority counsel, and Erik Lieberman, majority regulatory counsel. It was a heady discussion on the current CRA and some possible alternatives to it from the people who know it best. 


The 75-plus members of the audience definitely had a lot to digest after that roundtable. I know I did.


—Jennifer Smith, Assistant Chief Counsel