Thompson Supports Proposal to Disclose Costs and Benefits of Federal Regulation

Washington, DC-Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) today supported passage of a provision requiring the federal government to disclose to the public the costs and benefits of federal regulatory programs, which cost the average American household $7,000 per year.

“I believe the public has the right to know the benefits and burdens of federal regulatory programs,” Thompson said. “And Congress needs this information to better manage the regulatory process.”

The provision in the Fiscal Year 1998 Treasury-Postal Service Appropriations bill requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide Congress with a report on: the total annual costs and benefits of federal regulatory programs; the costs and benefits of rules costing $100 million or more; the direct and indirect impacts of federal rules on the private sector, state and local governments, and the federal government; and recommendations to streamline and improve regulatory programs.

Before issuing the report in final form, OMB must provide the public with notice and an opportunity to comment on the draft report–its substance, methodologies, and recommendations. In the final report, OMB must summarize the public comments. The provision is identical to an amendment offered last year by Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK).

“Now we know that regulatory accounting is doable, and it does not impose an unjustifiable burden on the agencies,” Thompson said. “I strongly support this provision initiated by Senator Stevens. We can make the regulatory process more transparent and accountable-and we should.”

OMB’s first draft report, due under last year’s regulatory accounting provision, is expected to be issued for public comment this week.