ABSTRACT

Federal Rulemaking: Agencies Could Take Additional Steps to Respond to Public Comments, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 2MB]

"Agencies publish thousands of rules each year, with significant benefits and costs. Before issuing a final rule, agencies are generally required to publish an NPRM [notice of proposed rulemaking] in the Federal Register. Agencies must then respond to public comments when issuing final rules. Agencies may use exceptions in certain circumstances to forgo this NPRM process to expedite rulemaking. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has authority to provide guidance on regulatory issues. GAO was asked to provide information on the rulemaking process. This report addresses (1) how often agencies issued final rules without an NPRM; (2) which exceptions agencies used to do this; and (3) whether agencies took certain actions when issuing major rules without an NPRM, including voluntarily requesting and responding to public comments. GAO [ Government Accountability Office] reviewed a generalizable random sample of 1,338 final rules published during calendar years 2003 through 2010. The sample contained rules by 52 agencies, including all cabinet departments issuing regulations. GAO completed more detailed analyses of 123 major rules without an NPRM, including every such rule published from 2007 through 2010, to obtain additional information to answer the objectives. [...] GAO recommends that OMB issue guidance to encourage agencies to respond to comments on final major rules, for which the agency has discretion, that are issued without a prior NPRM. OMB disagreed that guidance would offer substantial benefits. GAO believes the recommendation remains valid, as further discussed in the report."

Report Number:
GAO-13-21
Publisher:
Date:
2012-12
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
United States. Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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