House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) have re-introduced the bipartisan Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013 (HR 2542).
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) of 1980 requires federal agencies to assess the economic impact of their regulations on small businesses, and if the impact is significant, consider alternatives that are less burdensome before the rule is finalized. The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013 would ensure careful consideration of consequences of rulemaking through the removal of loopholes that agencies have used to avoid compliance with the RFA.
"Small business owners consistently cite compliance with government regulations as one of their biggest concerns facing them today," said Chairman Graves. "Not all regulations are bad, but many can be unnecessarily burdensome. Because small businesses bear a regulatory cost that is much higher than the cost of compliance for large businesses, the government should closely examine the impacts of the regulation before it is finalized. The Regulatory Flexibility Act is good policy to help protect small businesses from overly burdensome regulations, but federal agencies should comply with it and be held accountable for their actions."
On February 8, 2011, Chairman Sam Graves joined then-House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) to introduce the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011 (HR 527) during the 112th Congress. The Small Business Committee held hearings on the bill on March 30, 2011 and June 15, 2011 and marked up the bill on July 13, 2011. On December 1, 2011, the bill passed the House by a vote of 263-159; however, the Senate never took it up.
"In my view, the health of small businesses is one of the most important issues confronting our country," said Bachus. "Small businesses are the source for almost half of our workforce, and while I'm concerned about many economic factors, it's also my view that government regulations have a disproportionate impact on small businesses. While all businesses have to comply with state and local regulations, federal regulations can impose an even greater burden because most small businesses simply do not have the resources or the time to monitor and participate in the federal regulatory process or dispute new rules."
Earlier this year, Graves launched a new Committee initiative, called "Small Biz Reg Watch," to help small businesses participate in the development of federal regulations. This online resource on the Committee's website regularly highlights proposed regulations that could impact small companies and instruct business owners on how they can make comments to the federal agency considering the proposed regulation.
The other original cosponsors of the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act are Congressman John Barrow (D-GA), Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT), former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Congressman Howard Coble (R-NC) and Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN).