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Clearing Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens Act

S. 602, Introduced in Senate on by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Recent activity
  • Jul 20, 2011 — Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. 112-220.
  • Jun 23, 2011 — Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. 112-220.
  • Mar 16, 2011 — Read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
  • Mar 16, 2011 — Sponsor introductory remarks on measure.
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Full Text Below is a simple rendition of Congress' official bill text.

1.Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Clearing Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens Act or the CURB Act.
2.Regulatory reform
(a)DefinitionsIn this section—
(1)the term Administrator means the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget;
(2)the term agency has the same meaning as in section 3502(1) of title 44, United States Code;
(3)the term economically significant guidance document means a significant guidance document that may reasonably be anticipated to lead to an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy or a sector of the economy, except that economically significant guidance documents do not include guidance documents on Federal expenditures and receipts;
(4)the term disseminated
(A)means prepared by an agency and distributed to the public or regulated entities; and
(B)does not include—
(i)distribution limited to Federal Government employees;
(ii)intra- or interagency use or sharing of Federal Government information; and
(iii)responses to requests for agency records under section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act), section 552a of title 5, United States Code, (commonly referred to as the Privacy Act), the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.), or other similar laws;
(5)the term guidance document means an agency statement of general applicability and future effect, other than a regulatory action, that sets forth a policy on a statutory, regulatory or technical issue or an interpretation of a statutory or regulatory issue;
(6)the term regulation means an agency statement of general applicability and future effect, which the agency intends to have the force and effect of law, that is designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or to describe the procedure or practice requirements of an agency;
(7)the term regulatory action means any substantive action by an agency (normally published in the Federal Register) that promulgates or is expected to lead to the promulgation of a final regulation, including notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices of proposed rulemaking;
(8)the term significant guidance document
(A)means a guidance document disseminated to regulated entities or the general public that may reasonably be anticipated to—
(i)lead to an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more or affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities;
(ii)create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;
(iii)materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or
(iv)raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates and the priorities, principles, and provisions of this section; and
(B)does not include—
(i)legal advisory opinions for internal Executive Branch use and not for release (such as Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel opinions);
(ii)briefs and other positions taken by agencies in investigations, pre-litigation, litigation, or other enforcement proceedings;
(iii)speeches;
(iv)editorials;
(v)media interviews;
(vi)press materials;
(vii)congressional correspondence;
(viii)guidance documents that pertain to a military or foreign affairs function of the United States (other than guidance on procurement or the import or export of non-defense articles and services);
(ix)grant solicitations;
(x)warning letters;
(xi)case or investigatory letters responding to complaints involving fact-specific determinations;
(xii)purely internal agency policies;
(xiii)guidance documents that pertain to the use, operation or control of a government facility;
(xiv)internal guidance documents directed solely to other agencies; and
(xv)any other category of significant guidance documents exempted by an agency head in consultation with the Administrator; and
(9)the term significant regulatory action means any regulatory action that is likely to result in a regulation that may—
(A)have an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities;
(B)create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;
(C)materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or
(D)raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates and the priorities, principles, and provisions of this section.
(b)Agency assessment of significant regulatory actionsFor each significant regulatory action, each agency shall submit, at such times specified by the Administrator, a report to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs that includes—
(1)an assessment, including the underlying analysis, of benefits anticipated from the significant regulatory action, such as—
(A)the promotion of the efficient functioning of the economy and private markets;
(B)the enhancement of health and safety;
(C)the protection of the natural environment; and
(D)the elimination or reduction of discrimination or bias;
(2)to the extent feasible, a quantification of the benefits assessed under paragraph (1);
(3)an assessment, including the underlying analysis, of costs anticipated from the regulatory action, such as—
(A)the direct cost both to the Federal Government in administering the significant regulatory action and to businesses, consumers, and others (including State, local, and tribal officials) in complying with the regulation; and
(B)any adverse effects on the efficient functioning of the economy, private markets (including productivity, employment, and competitiveness), health, safety, the natural environment, job creation, the prices of consumer goods, and energy costs;
(4)to the extent feasible, a quantification of the costs assessed under paragraph (3); and
(5)an assessment, including the underlying analysis, of costs and benefits of potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives to the planned significant regulatory action, identified by the agency or the public (including improving the current regulation and reasonably viable nonregulatory actions), and an explanation why the planned regulatory action is preferable to the identified potential alternatives.
(c)Agency good guidance practices
(1)Agency standards for significant guidance documents
(A)Approval procedures
(i)In generalEach agency shall develop or have written procedures for the approval of significant guidance documents, which shall ensure that the issuance of significant guidance documents is approved by appropriate senior agency officials.
(ii)RequirementEmployees of an agency may not depart from significant guidance documents without appropriate justification and supervisory concurrence.
(B)Standard elementsEach significant guidance document—
(i)shall— (I)include the term guidance or its functional equivalent; (II)identify the agency or office issuing the document; (III)identify the activity to which and the persons to whom the significant guidance document applies; (IV)include the date of issuance; (V)note if the significant guidance document is a revision to a previously issued guidance document and, if so, identify the document that the significant guidance document replaces; (VI)provide the title of the document and a document identification number; and (VII)include the citation to the statutory provision or regulation (in Code of Federal Regulations format) which the significant guidance document applies to or interprets; and
(ii)shall not include mandatory terms such as shall, must, required, or requirement unless— (I)the agency is using those terms to describe a statutory or regulatory requirement; or (II)the terminology is addressed to agency staff and will not foreclose agency consideration of positions advanced by affected private parties.
(2)Public access and feedback for significant guidance documents
(A)Internet access
(i)In generalEach agency shall— (I)maintain on the Web site for the agency, or as a link on the Web site of the agency to the electronic list posted on a Web site of a component of the agency a list of the significant guidance documents in effect of the agency, including a link to the text of each significant guidance document that is in effect; and (II)not later than 30 days after the date on which a significant guidance document is issued, update the list described in clause (i).
(ii)List requirementsThe list described in subparagraph (A)(i) shall— (I)include the name of each— (aa)significant guidance document; (bb)document identification number; and (cc)issuance and revision dates; and (II)identify significant guidance documents that have been added, revised, or withdrawn in the preceding year.
(B)Public feedback
(i)In generalEach agency shall establish and clearly advertise on the Web site for the agency a means for the public to electronically submit— (I)comments on significant guidance documents; and (II)a request for issuance, reconsideration, modification, or rescission of significant guidance documents.
(ii)Agency responseAny comments or requests submitted under subparagraph (A)— (I)are for the benefit of the agency; and (II)shall not require a formal response from the agency.
(iii)Office for public comments (I)In generalEach agency shall designate an office to receive and address complaints from the public relating to— (aa)the failure of the agency to follow the procedures described in this section; or (bb)the failure to treat a significant guidance document as a binding requirement. (II)Web siteThe agency shall provide, on the Web site of the agency, the name and contact information for the office designated under clause (i).
(3)Notice and public comment for economically significant guidance documents
(A)In generalExcept as provided in paragraph (2), in preparing a draft of an economically significant guidance document, and before issuance of the final significant guidance document, each agency shall—
(i)publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the draft document is available;
(ii)post the draft document on the Internet and make a tangible copy of that document publicly available (or notify the public how the public can review the guidance document if the document is not in a format that permits such electronic posting with reasonable efforts);
(iii)invite public comment on the draft document; and
(iv)prepare and post on the Web site of the agency a document with responses of the agency to public comments.
(B)ExceptionsIn consultation with the Administrator, an agency head may identify a particular economically significant guidance document or category of such documents for which the procedures of this subsection are not feasible or appropriate.
(4)Emergencies
(A)In generalIn emergency situations or when an agency is obligated by law to act more quickly than normal review procedures allow, the agency shall notify the Administrator as soon as possible and, to the extent practicable, comply with this subsection.
(B)Significant guidance documents subject to statutory or court-imposed deadlineFor a significant guidance document that is governed by a statutory or court-imposed deadline, the agency shall, to the extent practicable, schedule the proceedings of the agency to permit sufficient time to comply with this subsection.
(5)Effective dateThis section shall take effect 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
3.Reduction or waiver of civil penalties imposed on small entities
(a)In generalChapter 6 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
613.Reduction or waiver of civil penalties imposed on small entities
(a)Upon the request of a small entity, a Regional Advocate of the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (referred to in this section as a Regional Advocate) shall submit to an agency a request that the agency reduce or waive a civil penalty imposed on the small entity, if the Regional Advocate determines that—
(1)the civil penalty was the result of a first-time violation by the small entity of a requirement to report information to the agency; and
(2)the reduction or waiver is consistent with the conditions and exclusions described in paragraphs (1), (3), (4), (5), and (6) of section 223(b) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104–121; 110 Stat. 862).
(b)Not later than 60 days after the receipt of a request from a Regional Advocate under subsection (a), an agency shall send written notice of the decision of the agency with respect to the request, together with the reasons for the decision, to the Regional Advocate that made the request and the relevant small entity.
(c)The Chief Counsel for Advocacy shall submit to Congress an annual report summarizing—
(1)the requests received by the Regional Advocates from small entities under subsection (a); and
(2)the requests submitted by the Regional Advocates to agencies under subsection (a) and the results of the requests.
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(b)Technical and conforming amendmentThe table of sections for chapter 6 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
613. Reduction or waiver of civil penalties imposed on small entities.
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