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109th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session 109-652
TRUTH IN REGULATING ACT EXTENSION
September 13, 2006.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on
the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Tom Davis of Virginia, from the Committee on Government Reform,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 1167]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Government Reform, to whom was referred the
bill (H.R. 1167) to amend the Truth in Regulating Act to make
permanent the pilot project for the report on rules, having
considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
Committee Statement and Views.................................... 2
Explanation of Amendments........................................ 6
Committee Consideration.......................................... 6
Rollcall Votes................................................... 6
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch..................... 9
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............ 9
Constitutional Authority Statement............................... 9
Federal Advisory Committee Act................................... 9
Unfunded Mandate Statement....................................... 9
Committee Estimate............................................... 9
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate... 10
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported............. 11
Additional Views................................................. 13
The amendments are as follows:
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
SECTION 1. AMENDMENT TO TRUTH IN REGULATING ACT TO AUTHORIZE ADDITIONAL
3-YEAR PERIOD FOR PILOT PROJECT.
(a) Additional 3-Year Period for Pilot Project.--Section 6(b) of the
Truth in Regulating Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-312; 5 U.S.C. 801 note)
(1) by striking ``The pilot project under this Act'' and
inserting the following:
``(1) Initial 3 years.--The pilot project under this Act'';
(2) by inserting at the end the following:
``(2) Additional 3 years.--The pilot project under this Act
shall continue for an additional period of 3 years, beginning
October 1, 2006, and ending September 30, 2009, if in each
fiscal year a specific annual appropriation not less than
$5,000,000 shall have been made for the pilot project.''.
(b) Authorization.--Section 5 of such Act is amended by inserting
before the period at the end of the text the following: ``, and
$5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007, 2008, and 2009''.
(c) Technical Amendment.--Section 6(c) of such Act is amended by
inserting after ``3-year period'' the following: ``under subsection
Amend the title so as to read:
A bill to amend the Truth in Regulating Act to authorize an
additional period of 3 years for the pilot project for the report on
Committee Statement and Views
PURPOSE AND SUMMARY
The purposes of the Truth in Regulating Act Amendments are
to make permanent the pilot program for the report on rules
from the Truth in Regulating Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-312). The
Truth in Regulating Act of 2000 (TIRA) was proposed to increase
the transparency of important regulatory decisions; promote
effective Congressional oversight to ensure that agency rules
fulfill statutory requirements in an efficient, effective, and
fair manner; and increase the accountability of Congress and
the agencies to the people they serve. The bill would have
established a Congressional Office of Regulatory Analysis
(CORA) function within the Government Accountability Office
(GAO). This regulatory analysis capability was intended to
enhance Congressional responsibility for regulatory decisions
developed under the laws Congress enacts. The most basic reason
for TIRA was to restore balance between the branches of
government. Just as Congress needs a Congressional Budget
Office (CBO) to check and balance the Executive Branch in the
budget process, so it needs an analytic capability to check and
balance the Executive Branch in the regulatory process.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution vests all
legislative powers in the U.S. Congress. While Congress may not
delegate its legislative functions, it routinely authorizes
Executive Branch agencies to issue rules that implement laws
passed by Congress. Congress has become increasingly concerned
about its responsibility to oversee agency rulemaking,
especially due to the extensive costs, benefits and impacts of
The burden of Federal regulations on the American public
continues to grow. In a report authored under contract to the
U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy,
Professor Mark Crain of Lafayette College, projected total off-
budget regulatory costs for 2005 to be $1.1 trillion. This was
an update of studies previously performed in Hopkins (1995) and
Crain and Hopkins (2001).
In 2005 alone, the Federal Register published 73,780 pages,
a significant increase from the time of the original Truth in
Regulating Act's passage. In recent years, various statutes
(such as the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 and the Small
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996) and
executive orders (such as President Reagan's 1981 Executive
Order 12291, ``Federal Regulation,'' and President Clinton's
1993 Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review'')
have mandated that Executive Branch agencies conduct extensive
regulatory analyses, especially for economically significant
rules having a $100 million or more effect on the economy or a
significant impact on small businesses. Unfortunately, Congress
does not have the analytical capability to independently and
fairly evaluate these analyses.
Congress currently has two opportunities to review agency
regulatory actions. Under the Administrative Procedure Act
(APA), Congress can comment on agency proposed and interim
rules during the public comment period. Under the Congressional
Review Act (CRA), Congress can disapprove an agency final rule
after it is promulgated but before it is effective.
Unfortunately, Congress has been unable to fully carry out its
responsibility under the CRA because it has neither all of the
information it needs to carefully evaluate agency regulatory
proposals nor sufficient staff for this function. Therefore,
since the March 1996 enactment of the CRA, there has been only
one successful Congressional resolution of disapproval.
To assume oversight responsibility for Federal regulations,
Congress needs to be armed with an independent evaluation of
more than just the agency's regulatory documents, including
agency-identified alternatives and the agency's costs and
benefits data. What is needed additionally is an analysis of
legislative history to see if there is a non-delegation
problem. Also, Congress needs an identification of non-
regulatory and lower-cost alternatives neglected by the agency.
During the 105th Congress, multiple hearings were held by
the Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural
Resources, and Regulatory Affairs. In the 105th, the Committee
favorably reported H.R. 1704, the ``Congressional Office of
Regulatory Analysis Creation Act'' (Rept. 105-441, Part 2).
This bill, introduced by Small Business Subcommittee Chairwoman
Sue Kelly on May 22, 1997, called for the establishment of a
new Legislative Branch Congressional Office of Regulatory
Analysis (CORA) agency to, among several duties, analyze all
major rules and report to Congress on potential costs,
benefits, and alternative approaches that could achieve the
same regulatory goals at lower costs. This agency was intended
to aid Congress in analyzing Federal regulations. The Committee
Report stated, Congress needs the expertise that CORA would
provide to carry out its duty under the CRA. Currently,
Congress does not have the information it needs to carefully
evaluate regulations. The only analyses it has to rely on are
those provided by the agencies which promulgate the rules.
In January and February 2000, Government Reform
Subcommittee Chairman David McIntosh and Small Business
Subcommittee Chairwoman Kelly introduced bills (H.R. 3521 and
H.R. 3669, respectively) which established a CORA function
within GAO, which is an existing Legislative Branch agency.
These bills and H.R. 4744 respond to the main objection of the
earlier bill in the 105th Congress by establishing a CORA
function in an existing Legislative Branch agency instead of
creating a new agency. GAO is the logical location within the
Legislative Branch since it already has some responsibilities
under the CRA. On May 10, 2000, the Senate passed S. 1198, the
``Truth in Regulating Act of 2000,'' by unanimous consent. It
also places the CORA function within GAO. Multiple hearings
were held and witnesses agreed that Congress needs to assume
more responsibility for regulations, especially for regulatory
proposals without an explicit delegation of regulatory
authority from Congress.
On June 26, 2000, Chairwoman Kelly and Chairman McIntosh
introduced H.R. 4744, the ``Truth in Regulating Act of 2000,''
which included several needed improvements to theSenate-passed
S. 1198. H.R. 4744 and S. 1198 share nearly identical purposes and very
similar provisions. However, H.R. 4744 included some needed
improvements, such as: (a) providing for timely Congressional comment
on agency proposed rules during the public comment period, while there
is still an opportunity to influence the cost, scope and content of the
rule; (b) requiring GAO to review not only the agency's data but also
the public's data to assure a more complete, unbiased and balanced
evaluation; (c) including not only rules having a $100 million or more
effect on the economy but also rules with a significant impact on small
businesses; (d) clarifying that GAO's evaluation of alternative
approaches should include alternatives that achieve the same goal in a
more cost-effective manner or that could provide greater net benefits;
and, (e) changing procedures so that the bipartisan leadership of
Congress instead of GAO determines the priority for GAO's independent
evaluations, with highest priority to proposed and interim rules. S.
1198 included a pilot project approach to test the effectiveness of a
CORA function in GAO; in contrast, H.R. 4744 included a sunset
provision approach. The approach of S. 1198 ultimately prevailed.
On October 3, 2000, Congress enacted the Truth in
Regulating Act (TIRA) which was the Senate enacted version S.
1198. The President signed the bill on October 17, 2000 and it
became Public Law 106-312, which was intended to improve the
quality of the information that Congress receives about certain
rules. Under the final version of TIRA, the chairman or ranking
member of any committee of jurisdiction could have requested
that GAO conduct an in-depth review of an agency's estimate of
a proposed or final economically significant rule's costs and
benefits, an analysis of the alternatives that the agency
considered, and the agency's compliance with relevant
procedural and analytical requirements. Federal agencies were
required to ``promptly cooperate'' with GAO in carrying out the
act. TIRA established a three-year pilot project (starting in
January 2001) that became effective upon the specific annual
appropriation to GAO of $5.2 million (or the prorated portion
thereof). Congress never provided that appropriation, though,
so the three-year pilot project ended in January 2004 without
In the 108th Congress, Subcommittee on Energy, Natural
Resources, and Regulatory Affairs Chairman Doug Ose introduced
the Paperwork and Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 2432). The
act included a provision to make permanent the pilot project on
regulatory reports in the GAO. The bill passed the House on May
18, 2004. The legislation was not taken up in the Senate before
In the 109th Congress, Representative Sue Kelly introduced
the Truth in Regulating Act Amendments (H.R. 1167) on March 8,
2005 to make permanent the pilot project that had expired in
January 2004. Chairwoman Candice Miller's Subcommittee on
Regulatory Affairs held a hearing on July 27, 2005 entitled,
``Regulatory Reform: Are Regulations Hindering Our
Competitiveness?'' Representative Sue Kelly testified at the
hearing and discussed the continued need for her legislation.
She specifically stressed the need for Congress to be able to
independently evaluate the impacts of regulation on small
businesses which are disproportionately burdened with the cost
The Truth in Regulating Act Amendments will make permanent
this ability that Congress needs to fulfill its responsibility
to oversee the laws it has enacted.
The Truth in Regulating Act Amendments (H.R. 1167) was
introduced by Representative Sue Kelly on March 8, 2005. The
Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs held a hearing on several
legislative proposals for regulatory reform including H.R. 1167
on July 27, 2005. Witnesses including Representative Kelly
expressed the continued need for a regulatory review function
for the Congress within GAO. The legislation would make
permanent the authority for that program that had yet to be
implemented since its passing in 2000 (P.L. 106-312). The law
had authorized the pilot program's existence until January
On June 8, 2006, the Committee on Government Reform held a
mark up of the Truth in Regulating Act Amendments (H.R. 1167).
Ranking Member Henry Waxman introduced an amendment in the
nature of a substitute. The amendment would strike the
permanent authority for the program and instead extend its
authority for a 3-year period to begin October 1, 2006 and end
September 30, 2009. It would also delete a section of the bill
that would have allowed for the program to be immediately
implemented by the GAO instead of being contingent on specific
appropriations being made available. The amendment passed by
voice vote with no nays. The Committee, with a quorum present,
reported the bill favorably by rollcall vote, unanimously.
An amendment in the nature of a substitute was offered and
accepted. The amended legislation read as the following:
Section 1. Amendment to Truth in Regulating Act to authorize additional
3-year period for pilot project
Section 1(a) amends the Truth in Regulating Act of 2000 to
extend of the pilot project for a report on rules by the
Government Accountability Office for an additional 3-year
period beginning October 1, 2006 and ending September 30, 2009.
Section 1(b) amends the Truth in Regulating Act of 2000 to
authorize appropriations for the office within the Government
Accountability Office at $5,000,000 for fiscal years 2007-2009.
Section 1(c) makes technical amendments.
Explanation of Amendments
The amendment in the nature of a substitute eliminated the
permanent authorization for a report on rules by the Government
Accountability Office (GAO). Instead, it extended the pilot
program for a 3-year period. It also continued to make the
program contingent on a specific appropriation for the GAO at
an inflation adjusted rate of $5,000,000 per fiscal year. The
version before the amendment would have required GAO to begin
operationsof the program without any new funds. GAO submitted
comments regarding the financial strain this program would cause
without additional funding. Other operations would have to be scaled
back to accommodate it.
On June 8, 2006, the Committee met in open session and
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 1167, as amended, by
voice vote, a quorum being present.
There were no rollcall votes on this legislation.
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch
Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a
description of the application of this bill to the legislative
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of
employment or access to public services and accommodations.
This bill amends the Truth in Regulating Act of 2000 to extend
for three years the pilot project that permits a chairman or
ranking member of a committee of jurisdiction of either House
of Congress to request the Comptroller General to review a rule
that is an economically significant rule (a rule with an annual
effect on the economy of $100 million or more or that will
adversely affect the country in a material way). As such this
bill does not relate to employment or access to public services
Legislative branch employees and their families, to the
extent that they are otherwise eligible for the benefits
provided by this legislation, have equal access to its
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee
In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives
In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions
of this report.
Constitutional Authority Statement
Under clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House
of Representatives, the Committee must include a statement
citing the specific powers granted to Congress to enact the law
proposed by H.R. 1167. Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 of the
Constitution of the United States grants the Congress the power
to enact this law.
Federal Advisory Committee Act
The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).
Unfunded Mandate Statement
Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement whether
the provisions of the reported include unfunded mandates. In
compliance with this requirement the Committee has received a
letter from the Congressional Budget Office included herein.
Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out
H.R. 1167. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received
the following cost estimate for H.R. 1167 from the Director of
Congressional Budget Office:
June 20, 2006.
Hon. Tom Davis,
Chairman, Committee on Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed estimate for H.R. 1167, a bill to amend
the Truth in Regulating Act to authorize an additional period
of three years for the pilot project for the report on rules.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew
Donald B. Marron,
H.R. 1167--A bill to amend the Truth in Regulating Act to authorize an
additional period of three years for the pilot project for the
report on rules
Summary: H.R. 1167 would amend the Truth in Regulating Act
to authorize the appropriation of $5 million a year over the
2007-2009 period for a three-year extension of the Government
Accountability Office's (GAO's) pilot project to evaluate final
agency rules that are economically significant. No funds have
been appropriated for the project, and the authority for the
pilot project expired on January 15, 2004.
The rules subject to review by GAO would include those that
could have an annual effect on the U.S. economy of at least
$100 million or those that could adversely affect the economy,
the environment, public health and safety, or state, local, or
tribal governments. Each GAO analysis would include an
evaluation of the potential costs and benefits of implementing
a particular rule, alternative approaches for achieving the
goal of the rule at a lower cost, and an evaluation of the
regulatory impact analysis or other assessment performed by the
agency issuing the rule.
Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts and based
on information from GAO, CBO estimates that implementing the
pilot project would cost $5 million in 2007 and $15 million
over the 2007-2011 period. Enacting the bill would not affect
direct spending or revenues. H.R. 1167 contains no
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would not affect the
budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated
budgetary impact of H.R. 1167 is shown in the following table.
The bill would authorize the appropriation of $5 million a year
over the 2007-2009 period for the pilot project. The costs of
this legislation fall within budget function 800 (general
By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Authorization Level................................................ 5 5 5 0 0
Estimated Outlays.................................................. 5 5 5 0 0
Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 1167
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA and would not affect the budgets of state,
local, or tribal governments.
Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Matthew Pickford.
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Sarah Puro.
Impact on the Private Sector: Paige Piper/Bach.
Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported
In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is
proposed is shown in roman):
TRUTH IN REGULATING ACT OF 2000
* * * * * * *
SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There are authorized to be appropriated to the General
Accounting Office to carry out this Act $5,200,000 for each of
fiscal years 2000 through 2002, and $5,000,000 for each of
fiscal years 2007, 2008, and 2009.
SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE AND DURATION OF PILOT PROJECT.
(a) * * *
(b) Duration of Pilot Project.--[The pilot project under this
(1) Initial 3 years.--The pilot project under this Act
shall continue for a period of 3 years, if in each
fiscal year, or portion thereof included in that
period, a specific annual appropriation not less than
$5,200,000 or the pro-rated equivalent thereof shall
have been made for the pilot project.
(2) Additional 3 years.--The pilot project under this
Act shall continue for an additional period of 3 years,
beginning October 1, 2006, and ending September 30,
2009, if in each fiscal year a specific annual
appropriation not less than $5,000,000 shall have been
made for the pilot project.
(c) Report.--Before the conclusion of the 3-year period under
subsection (b)(1), the Comptroller General shall submit to
Congress a report reviewing the effectiveness of the pilot
project and recommending whether or not Congress should
permanently authorize the pilot project.
ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF REPRESENTATIVE HENRY A. WAXMAN
I supported moving H.R. 1167, which sets up a system for
the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review agency
rules, through the Committee, but I do continue to have
questions about the bill's underlying purpose.
One key concern I have about the bill, as introduced, is
its effect. The introduced bill could hurt GAO's ability to
carry out its primary mission of answering to members of
Congress. GAO currently does not have adequate resources to
accept all of its current congressional requests. As it is,
requests from members without ranking committee positions are
at the bottom of the priority chain. Adding an unnecessary
demand on GAO, as this bill seeks to do, could consume
resources needed elsewhere.
This concern regarding effect was largely addressed by the
Waxman amendment, which was unanimously passed in Committee.
That amendment limits the program to a three year pilot and
makes the authorization dependent on funding by Congress at $5
million each fiscal year. Because the Waxman amendment passed,
I did not oppose H.R. 1167 in Committee.
However, I continue to have concerns about the purpose of
this bill. The majority claims imposing this new requirement on
GAO is necessary in order to allow Congress to oversee what the
majority characterizes as increasingly burdensome federal
I am not in favor of burdensome regulations, and I believe
targeted reviews can be helpful. But the major problem facing
the regulatory system today is not overly burdensome
regulation. Rather the two major problems with the regulatory
process today are that: (1) science is shunted aside whenever
it is politically inconvenient, as in the case of Plan B, and
(2) regulatory policy decisions are too often made at the White
House behind closed doors in meetings with industry, as in the
case of the Administration's energy policy. This bill does
nothing to deal with these issues.
Moreover, Congress already is fully capable of overseeing
the development of regulations if it chooses to exercise its
existing authority. Congress can call hearings, require
agencies to testify, and hear from stakeholders, including the
public. In addition, it can request agencies to develop
additional information and fund independent studies by the
National Academy of Sciences and other widely respected bodies,
when it believes additional technical information is necessary.
Henry A. Waxman.