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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

President Obama Announces "New" Regulatory Strategy

Small business owners certainly hope President Obama's new regulatory strategy will lead to less regulation, lower costs and more accountability in the regulatory agencies. And, as SBE Council pointed out in our response to the President's announcement yesterday, "an effective strategy would immediately take steps to reform or scale back both existing and proposed regulations."

The President's new regulatory strategy addresses several things, including a commitment to enforcing existing law with regard to the obligations that government departments and agencies have to small business when new regulations and proposed; more transparency, reporting and information access from Federal enforcement agencies relating to investigations and compliance; and, a "to do" list for regulatory agencies focusing on how they will go about streamlining the regulatory process, identifying outmoded or duplicative regulations, improving the effectiveness of regulations, and lessening burden, among other directives.

As I said in my media statement on the strategy: "The new and improved regulatory approach outlined by President Obama in his Executive Order and Presidential Memorandums will certainly recognize the staggering cost burdens inherent in the new health care law, for example, and other initiatives underway at EPA and the Department of Labor. That being the case, we await a new attitude across the entire federal government in listening to small business concerns. In many cases, the government is regulating without cause, which is driving the uncertainty that is holding back investment and job creation."

Certainly there is an opportunity for President Obama to work with Congress on reducing regulation and advancing reforms to modernize and alter the regulatory process -- that is, if he is serious about reducing regulatory burdens and costs on business. For example, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is embarking on an initiative to identify both existing and proposed regulations that are impediments to job creation, small business growth and economic recovery. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) also plans to study various reform ideas to accomplish what the President hopes to do through his Executive Order and twin Memorandums. Various other committee's will be studying the regulatory process, and many members of Congress have introduced legislation to rein in regulators and give Congress more say in whether final rules become the law of the land.

When he made the announcement about his committment to improving the regulatory process, President Obama specifically noted his desire to relieve small business owners of the burdensome costs associated with excessive red tape. He must execute on this promise. The stakes are too high for our economy and the need for jobs.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

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