Cost-Benefit and Other Analysis Requirements in the Rulemaking Process [August 30, 2011] [open pdf - 452KB]
"Regulatory analytical requirements (e.g., cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis) have been established incrementally during the last 40 to 50 years through a series of presidential and congressional initiatives. The current set of requirements includes Executive Order 12866 and OMB [Office of Management and Budget] Circular A-4, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). These requirements vary in terms of the agencies and rules they cover, and the types of analyses that are required. The most extensive and broadly applicable of the requirements are in Executive Order 12866 and OMB Circular A-4, but they do not apply to independent regulatory agencies. The statutes that provide rule-making authority to independent regulatory agencies often require them to 'consider' regulatory costs and benefits, but do not specifically require cost-benefit analysis. An Office of Management and Budget report indicated that independent regulatory agencies did not estimate both costs and benefits for any of the major rules they issued in FY2010. […] Another more comprehensive approach could be to consolidate all of the analytical requirements in one place, and perhaps expand those requirements to include more agencies or rules, or to require different types of analysis. To do so, or to simply cover independent regulatory agencies by the executive order, the President could arguably amend Executive Order 12866 and OMB Circular A-4, or Congress could enact legislation. Any such changes must be cognizant of the state of existing law in this area, and the resources and data required for agencies to carry out the analyses. This report will not be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, R41974