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Kline: Obama Administration Continues to Play Game of Regulatory Hide-and-Seek

U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement after the Obama administration once again failed to publish a list of economically significant regulations under development as required by federal law:

The Obama administration continues to play a game of regulatory hide-and-seek with the American people. Current law was designed to protect the public’s right to know about rules and regulations being crafted behind the closed doors of the federal bureaucracy. However, on a range of issues including health care, retirement security, and workplace safety the president seems determined to keep his plans for new regulations secret.

To make matters worse, the Obama administration is also stonewalling congressional oversight. For several months, the committee has tried to obtain information on the administration’s failure to disclose its spring regulatory agenda. Instead of providing the facts, the administration has obstructed the committee’s search for answers. What is the president trying to hide? The American people deserve better than an imperial presidency that flouts the law and hides its regulatory ambitions.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 requires federal agencies to publish in April and October a list of economically significant regulations that are under development. Additionally, Executive Order 12866, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to publish a semiannual unified agenda of all regulations that will be under development or review. Agencies submit their proposed regulations to OMB, which then discloses a complete list – referred to as the unified agenda – every six months.

The Obama administration has previously missed these legal deadlines. Even more troubling, the administration recently indicated to Chairman Kline that it will not publish the spring 2012 agenda, despite previous assurances that work was ongoing to prepare that agenda. In March, Cass Sunstein – President Obama’s former administrator of regulatory affairs – wrote that the “value of the unified agenda depends upon the accuracy and timeliness of its content.” Yet the president continues to deny workers, job creators, and taxpayers a timely description of the regulations he wants to pursue.

At a time when economic growth remains anemic, more regulatory uncertainty will not help the 23 million Americans who are still searching for full-time jobs. For more information regarding the committee’s oversight of the administration’s regulatory actions, click here.

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