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Examining Agency Discretion in Setting and Enforcing Regulatory Fines and Penalties

Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management

Location: SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building

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Member Statements


Congress has delegated varying degrees of enforcement flexibility to regulatory agencies to set penalties for regulatory violations.  When properly used, this authority is a powerful tool for agencies to encourage compliance and achieve regulatory goals.  However, this authority is also susceptible to abuse if not properly administered.  To that end, this hearing examined the process by which agencies set and enforce regulatory fines and penalties, the amount of discretion agencies have in assessing fines and penalties, and the efforts that agencies have taken to ensure consistency and transparency over regulatory enforcement decisions.