In 2007, President Bush amended President Clinton’s executive order on government regulation, making changes that could have far-reaching consequences for how the government weighs the costs and benefits of regulatory activity. Although the new Bush executive order would impose greater requirements on regulatory agencies than are currently imposed, we think the benefits are likely to exceed the costs. We argue that the new executive order should have included independent regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission, in addition to executive regulatory agencies.
We are pleased to appear before this subcommittee to present our views on the recent executive order on regulation. We have studied and written about regulatory institutions for more than two decades. About a decade ago, we organized a cooperative effort between the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution to study regulation. The result was the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies.1
A primary objective of the center is to hold lawmakers and regulators more accountable by providing thoughtful, objective analysis of existing regulatory programs and new regulatory proposals. The Joint Center has been at the forefront of outlining principles for improving regulation, enhancing economic welfare, and promoting regulatory accountability.2
Our testimony analyzes the new executive order on regulation. In 2007, President Bush amended President Clinton’s executive order on government regulation, making changes that could have far-reaching consequences for how the government weighs the costs and benefits of regulatory activity.3 We argue that the changes in the order are modest and that the new order is generally an improvement. Specifically, we believe that expanding the executive order to consider guidance is a positive step; the changes regarding regulation are not likely to substantially increase an agency’s analytical burden; and, the expansion of presidential influence over major regulatory policies will serve to enhance accountability.4