The Office of Advocacy’s work with federal agencies in 2012 to ensure that regulations complied with the standards set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, or RFA, effectively eliminated $2.4 billion in first-year regulatory costs for small businesses. The effectiveness of the office’s work in helping federal agencies comply with the RFA (as well as the resultant cost savings) is demonstrated in their Report on the Regulatory Flexibility Act FY 2012.
Essentially, the RFA (1980)—as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)—was enacted by the federal government in an effort to balance the social needs of federal regulations with the needs and capabilities of small businesses and entities. Under this law, regulations that are in place are aligned with the scale of the businesses, organizations, and jurisdictions subject to compliance. Thus, regulatory agencies must take into consideration issues such as feasibility and economic impact on small businesses and entities, and explore alternative options if necessary that minimize the regulatory burden yet still achieve the purpose of the rule.
The Office of Advocacy fosters federal agency RFA compliance in several ways. Not only do they perform regular regulatory reviews, they also track and monitor each agency’s progress in complying with Executive Order 13272, which requires that a systematic rule review process be in placed geared toward reducing small businesses’ regulatory burden. Other outreach efforts include facilitating roundtable discussions nationwide, providing commentary on proposed regulations, and leading hands-on training efforts within individual agency’s on RFA compliance.
Overall, the Office of Advocacy aims to provide a strong voice for small businesses in the regulatory process, particularly when proposed rules or regulations could potentially have a significant economic impact on a substantial part of the small business sector. By making regulations more relevant and feasible for small businesses, the Office of Advocacy aims to make them more effective and long lasting as well.
The Office of Advocacy bases its cost savings primarily on agency estimates, and the metrics are captured in the fiscal year in which the agency takes final action on the rule.
EPA. “Summary of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as Amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act” EPA.gov. 2/24/13.
The Small Business Watchdog. “RFA Compliance Saves Small Businesses $2.4 Billion in Regulatory Costs.” SBA.gov. 2/27/13.