House Small Business Committee taps GAO for Regulatory Overreach Investigation

House Small Business Committee taps GAO for Regulatory Overreach Investigation

Are small business owners being hurt by the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO), which uses a wide range of discretion when implementing rules and regulations?

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer would like to find out more. Luetkemeyer is a Republican from Missouri and is currently a member of the US House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. In 2009, he was elected to the US House of Representatives Committee on Small Business.

Luetkemeyer wrote December 9 a letter asking the GAO for assistance in determining if agencies “inappropriately impose preventable regulatory cost on small business owners.” He also wants the GAO’s help to assess the impact of a rule on small businesses, and how to balance the negative and positive impacts.

House asks GAO for audit agencies on small business regulations overreach

  • Regulatory Flexibility Act
  • Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act
  • Congressional Review Act

Luetemeyer would like to see how the federal agencies apply those rules and regulations. He specifically mentioned “burdensome, detrimental regulations” that have an impact on small-businesses.

House small business committee taps gao

Looking for small business opportunities to be involved in the decision making process

Luetkemeyer says that some of the measures implemented have left small business owners “unsatisfied.” Luetkemeyer would like to see the GAO find a way to allow small-business owners to contribute to their proposals.

Here’s how:

  • Proposed rules should be made clear to small businesses
  • It is important for small businesses to have the opportunity to voice concerns
  • Small business issues should be considered by agencies

Luetkemeyer drew our attention to Section 212, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act. This section relates to compliance with regulations. Luetkemeyer seeks clarification, noting that certain rules include “undefined or ambiguous terms”.

Rules governing small business operations must have been “properly developed, published, and distributed to small businesses before they can be required to conform.”

What will happen?

That’s unknown. Luetkemeyer, however, sent an identical message to 26 agencies on October 24, 2022. He has received “six substantive replies” to his message so far.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility (RFA), which requires that the U.S. Federal Government balance federal regulations’ social objectives with small business needs and abilities, is enacted by September 1988. This law was passed in September 1988.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, (SBREFA), requires federal agencies to conduct a regulatory flexibility assessment, offer guidance, assist small businesses in complying with agency statutes and regulations, and to establish a program for responding to inquiries from small businesses about these issues. This law was passed in March 1996.

The Congressional Review Act

Subtitle E of 1996’s Contract with America Advancement Act is the Congressional Review Act. This law gives Congress the power to examine new federal regulations that have been issued by agencies of government and to pass a joint resolution to repeal a regulation. The CRA prohibits any reissuance of a repealed rule or issuing of a substantially similar rule “unless it is authorized by a law enacted following the date of the joint decision disapproving the initial rule.” (5 U.S. Code SS801(b).(2)). The 60-day window in which Congress can disapprove of any rule is limited to simple majority votes. Otherwise, it will take effect immediately. This law was passed in March 1996.

What can you do?

Contact your state representative to request that they focus their attention on the matter. Your input can include your views on the impact regulations have had on your business. Your input can be sent to the Small Business Committee.

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