Business Groups Upset About Delay of Spring Regulations

Tuesday, 14 May 2013 09:19 AM

By Lisa Barron

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Business groups are concerned the Obama administration's failure to meet a spring deadline for issuing new regulations could leave them with some unwelcome surprises.

Federal regulators are mandated to release what is known as a Unified Agenda in both the fall and the spring, usually in October and April, that outlines the rules businesses are required to follow. But the Obama administration missed the spring deadline this year, reports The Hill newspaper.

"This is the one place where, across all government, agencies are supposed to coordinate," Rosario Palmieri, vice president of infrastructure, legal and regulatory policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, told The Hill.

"Small businesses especially should not be surprised by regulatory initiatives."

Liz Gasster, vice president of the Business Roundtable, said the regulations are "very important" to its members, including top executives at some of the country's biggest corporations. She noted the rules are essential for providing "certainty" to industries planning to make investments.

According to The Hill, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and fellow GOP Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter of complaint last week to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the new director of the Office of Management and Budget, complaining about the missed deadline.

"It is your responsibility to ensure that the OIRA [the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs] follows the law and keeps the public informed about regulations."

The regulatory affairs office is one of two responsible for complying with the deadlines for notifying businesses of new rules and guidelines.

The last time the administration released a Unified Agenda was Dec. 21, 2012, and Republicans charge that the delays are deliberate because the administration is trying to bypass Congress in addressing regulatory matters, including controversial issues such as climate change.

But Democrats are also upset about the missed deadlines because new rules also affect worker protections and other environmental concerns.

"The OIRA needs to act in a far more transparent and expedited way to make decisions on rules under consideration," Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro told The Hill.

DeLauro has been awaiting word on a rule limiting construction and shipyard workers' exposure to harmful silica dust, which has been tied up in the regulatory affairs office for more than two years.

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