"Regulations generally start with an act of Congress and are the means by which statutes are implemented and specific requirements are established. Federal agencies usually issue more than 3,000 final rules each year on topics ranging from the timing of bridge openings to the permissible levels of arsenic and other contaminants in drinking water. During the past 65 years, Congress and various Presidents have developed an elaborate set of procedures and requirements to guide the federal rulemaking process, often with the implicit or explicit goal of reducing the amount of regulatory burden placed on the public. These cross-cutting statutory and executive order rulemaking requirements often require some type of analysis or disclosure on the part of the rulemaking agency before issuing a covered rule, but also often give agencies substantial discretion regarding whether the requirements are applicable. In the 112th Congress, at least 22 bills have been introduced that would, if enacted, change many of the current requirements in the federal rulemaking process. This report will describe many of those bills, note whether similar legislation has been introduced or acted upon in the past, summarize the comments of those supporting and opposing the proposed legislation, and provide other relevant information. The report ends with some concluding observations, noting similarities, differences, and broad themes in the legislative proposals. To put the regulatory reform bills in context, however, the report first summarizes the current rulemaking requirements (primarily statutes and executive orders) that the proposed legislation would amend, codify, or otherwise affect."
CRS Report for Congress, R41834