Government rules are difficult to track and define, according to a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute that aims to define the variety of ways federal agencies implement rules without accountability. What’s the Difference between “Major,” “Significant,” and all those other Federal Rule Categories? Explains how not knowing what to call regulatory actions nor how to clearly disclose their impact is a significant but artificially created obstacle to addressing regulatory overreach. As the administrative state grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern the significance of the various kinds of significant and major rules. Efforts to curb regulations can start with streamlining, reform, and reduction of agency rules.
“There is no standard for defining regulatory rules terms,” said report author and CEI Vice President of Policy Wayne Crews. “We need regulatory reform, but in order to accomplish it, we need to understand exactly what rule categorizations are and mean. Today’s complexity helps preserve a large, unwieldy, and undemocratic bureaucracy that deadens our economy and society. Congress needs to take back rule-making authority from runaway federal agencies to bring much needed accountability to the rules our government is issuing.”
What’s the Difference between “Major,” “Significant,” and all those other Federal Rule Categories? is a much-needed resource for policy makers and bureaucrats alike as they tackle the ever-expanding regulatory state in the United States. Lawmakers should inventory, simplify and consolidate the federal bureaucracy’s increasingly confusing nomenclature, which includes rule categories like “major,” “non-major,” “significant,” “economically significant,” and numerous others. That streamlining must also extend to guidance documents, memoranda, interpretive bulletins, and other issuances that agencies use to implement policy without always following the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements.