Obama regulatory chief calls for curbing 'cumulative burdens'

Cass Sunstein, Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass Sunstein, Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs AP

The Obama administration’s top regulatory officer on Tuesday instructed agencies to take steps to reduce the “cumulative burden” of federal rules on the private sector, particularly small businesses.

Cass Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, described nine items for consideration in a letter to heads of departments and agencies. He called the new memo, which updates a January 2011 executive order from President Obama, “another major step forward” in streamlining regulations.

“Agencies should avoid unintentional burdens that could result from an exclusive focus on the most recent regulatory activities,” Sunstein wrote in the memo. “In some cases, the addition of new rules and requirements has unfortunate cumulative effects,” he added in the White House blog . “Taken in isolation, a new rule may seem perfectly sensible, but it may overlap with existing requirements. The sheer accumulation of regulations can cause real harm, especially for small businesses and startups.”

The steps agencies should take in response include:

  • Engaging with state, tribal and local governments early on; ;
  • Consulting with affected stakeholders before proposing new rules;
  • Considering the cumulative effects of regulations on small businesses and startups;
  • Looking at the relationship between new regulations and those already in effect during the cost-benefit analysis;
  • Aligning the requirements of new and existing rules to eliminate inconsistency, excessive cost and redundancy.

Sunstein also said agencies will be reaching out to the public on the effort to avoid unnecessary rules and redundant requirements.

Jessica Randall, a regulatory policy analyst at the nonprofit OMBWatch, told Government Executive her group is disappointed in the memo’s focus on procedures. “It’s about getting rid of old and redundant regulations, but we don’t see a corresponding effort to have agencies get out the regulations on public protections on a quick or efficient schedule,” she said. “It’s troubling that this is how they’re spending their time.”

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 GovExec.com.
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.