The GAO Weighs In On Regulatory Reform Options For Congress

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The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) December 2023 Options for Enhancing Congressional Oversight of Rulemaking and Establishing an Office of Legal Counsel ought not be overlooked by Congress, especially as budget battles resume.

While this report received apparently no media coverage, its timing could potentially help Congress incorporate synergistic rulemaking reforms into fresh negotiations over federal spending as a potential partial federal government shutdown looms, and as Biden’s fiscal year 2025 budget proposal is anticipated.

Prior to its new study, GAO had released a March 2023 report documenting $247 billion in so-called “improper payments” for fiscal year 2022 alone. The two GAO studies ought to be contemplated by Congress as a unit as we approach yet another budget impasse. Since costly “off-budget” regulatory interventions are even less disciplined than spending—and rarely quantified—it is entirely appropriate to elevate regulatory concerns alongside fiscal budgetary ones, killing two birds with one stone as it were.

Coordinated approaches to spending and regulatory restraint are warranted since regulation can be expected to expand as a natural outgrowth of the hundreds of billions of dollars Congress has recently released with its inflation, infrastructure and other laws. These debt-fueled legislative enactments are bloated with subsidies and costly procurements, and are replete with economic manipulation. These features are openly boasted of by an administration touting the “largest investments in history” in the likes of water infrastructure, clean energy and other pursuits that might instead have been carried out by states or by the private sector without the excess and unwelcome supervision they are going to get in the current bargain.

Read the full article on Forbes.