Bill would require cost-benefit reg reviews

Federal agencies would have to conduct regular cost-benefit analyses on all major regulations under a bill introduced last week in the Senate.

Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced S. 2161, the Regulatory Right-to-Know Act, on Thursday. The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to submit a report to Congress every two years quantifying the effect of regulation on the U.S. economy.

"More information on the benefits and costs of regulation will help us make smarter decisions to get more of the good things that sensible regulation can deliver, and reduce needless waste and red tape at the same time," Thompson said.

The bill would cover all regulations that have a cost to the economy of $100 million or more, and would require the president to recommend ways to reform regulations that do not show benefits that justify their costs.

According to an Office of Management and Budget report last year, the benefits of regulations outweigh their costs. The dollar benefit of economic, environmental and social regulations for 1997 was $298 billion, compared to a cost of $289 billion, OMB estimated. The one-time OMB report was prepared at the Congress' request.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has estimated the cost of regulation to be around $700 billion a year.

Policy analysts debate the value and validity of economic analysis for regulations. For example, OMB notes that assigning dollar amounts to benefits like clean air is difficult.

But Thompson argues that cost-benefit analysis would improve regulatory decisionmaking.

"There is substantial evidence that the current regulatory system often misses opportunities for greater benefits and lower costs," Thompson said.

Thompson's proposal is separate from a more sweeping regulatory reform package he is advancing on the Hill.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.