Hoeven Joins Senator Lankford in Introducing Small Business Regulatory Relief Bill

Legislation Requires Full Impact Analysis of Regulations on Small Business

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that he has joined Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) in introducing the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, legislation that requires federal agencies to analyze the full impact of proposed regulations on small businesses during the rulemaking process.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the real job creators in our country,” said Hoeven. “For too long, we’ve burdened our businesses with unnecessary regulations that hamper growth and halt innovation. This legislation ensures that we take into account the real costs of proposed regulations on our small businesses, which will help us to provide regulatory relief and greater certainty for our job creators.”

“Small businesses are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the job growth in America, so it is important that Washington fully analyzes regulatory impacts on small businesses before a rule is finalized,” said Lankford. “This bill is desperately needed because federal agencies frequently use loopholes in the process to avoid the full economic analysis of a proposed regulation on small businesses. The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act will ensure that the needs and priorities of small business are fully taken into account early in the rulemaking process.”

Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act

·        This bill would force agencies to analyze the total impact regulations have on all small businesses, and closes loopholes used by agencies to avoid compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996.

·        The RFA of 1980 requires federal agencies to assess the impact of proposed regulations on “small entities.” Under the RFA, agencies, including independent agencies, must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis for rules deemed to have a “significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.” However, the RFA failed to define “significant economic impact" or "substantial number of small entities," leaving agencies with broad discretion to decide when regulatory flexibility analysis requirements are triggered.

·        The SBREFA of 1996 amended the RFA to create additional requirements agencies must follow when promulgating rules that impact small entities, however deficiencies in both of the RFA and SBRFA left small businesses burdened by massive, one-size-fits-all regulatory schemes.

·        Agencies are frequently able to work around RFA and SBREFA requirements by: (1) considering only the direct economic impacts of proposed rules; (2) not including tribes as a small entity; (3) exempting IRS regulations; (4) requiring small business review panels of only three agencies; and (5) allowing agencies to sign off on rules as having “no significant economic impact” without detailed analysis.