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Joe Biden changes rules to avoid new regulatory scrutiny

The executive order signed by President Biden makes it easier for government agencies to impose regulatory changes without review or public oversight.

President Biden signed the order on April 6. The order significantly changed the way the government reviews major regulatory changes, allowing some new regulations to escape cost-benefit analysis and making them more difficult to track.

Biden’s new rule doubles the regulatory threshold for special government review based on estimated economic impact, raising the threshold from $100 million to $200 million.

Biden cited inflation to justify the change.

He also ordered the government to change the way it conducts cost-benefit analysis of regulatory changes. Economic analysts said the proposed changes, which have not yet been finalized, would erode the government’s objectivity and make it more likely to support the administration’s proposed regulations.

Ryan Young, senior economist at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said Mr. Biden’s executive order and other proposed changes resulted in “less challenge to the rules, less transparency, and more control for the executive branch of Congress and the government.” “I can now move freely without intervention,” he said. The judiciary is checking them. ”

The new $200 million threshold has already shielded the new regulation from scrutiny, he said, adding that the Biden administration will need additional review and transparency to meet the new $200 million threshold this year. We calculate that we are on pace to issue only 18 economically important regulations. Last year, the government issued 43 regulations under the $100 million threshold.

“This is going to be a significant amount of regulation going unnoticed,” said Young, who tracks federal regulation.

Regulations with an economic impact of less than $200 million will not be registered in the Federal Register, making it even more difficult to track regulations that evade additional analysis under the new standards.

“We may or may not hear about it,” Young said.

Of the nine new regulations issued by the Biden administration, only one was subject to scrutiny under the new standards. The June 5 regulations made broad annual adjustments to Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefits, Medicare Expense Plans, and other federal benefits for seniors.

Among the eight new regulations that have escaped additional scrutiny are regulations establishing a health benefit program for U.S. Postal Service employees and a State Department rule raising visa fees for students, tourists and others.

The Brookings Institution’s analysis characterized the change as “progressive” and overdue.

Connor Laso, Senior General Counsel for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and contributor to Brookings, said the $200 million threshold would be raised further to $332 million if inflation were fully adjusted. said it should.

A higher economic impact threshold would allow the oversight Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to make better use of its limited personnel resources, allowing it to conduct “higher impact” reviews, Raso said. Stated.

The rule change comes amid growing criticism of Mr. Biden’s push for regulation.

For example, Mr. Biden’s green energy goals have led to a series of new efficiency rules for many appliances, including microwave ovens and toothbrush chargers. The effort, which is forcing manufacturers to produce more expensive products, could reverse decades of innovation and cost thousands of U.S. jobs, they say.

Congress is trying to put the brakes on some of Mr. Biden’s regulations, passing a series of bipartisan bills aimed at overturning them. The president has vetoed most of them, including a move to overturn new emissions rules for heavy trucks, which critics say will lead to higher equipment costs and, in turn, consumer prices. claim.

Biden also vetoed a congressional bill that would overturn a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program and a new Environmental Protection Agency rule that would expand federal regulatory authority over land and water.

Republicans and other critics have accused Mr. Biden of executive overreach, and the Supreme Court has sided with them in some cases.

The High Court recently scrapped the student loan forgiveness program and in May overruled the EPA’s new water regulations.

As the Biden administration seeks to reduce regulatory oversight, Republicans in Congress are looking for ways to increase oversight.

Earlier this year, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a bill that would require congressional approval before any new regulation that would impact the economy by more than $100 million a year.

Senator John Tune said on the Capitol that even regulations that meet the economic criteria for scrutiny evade scrutiny because government agencies use “handpicked data” that overestimate benefits and underestimate costs. said that

Earlier this year, Mr. Tune, a South Dakota Republican, introduced measures requiring federal agencies to conduct more “transparent and objective analysis” of the economic impact of proposed regulations, particularly on small businesses. It will also require government agencies to justify the need for regulation and consider less burdensome alternatives.

The bill is expected to be defeated in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but it could be voted on if Republicans take control of the floor in 2024 and Republicans look for ways to tighten executive control in the wake of what’s next. more likely to be passed. Mr. Biden’s booze.

“Too often, federal agencies issue overly burdensome regulations without properly assessing the impact on consumers and small businesses,” Thun said. “Unfortunately, this lack of transparency has become the norm in the Biden administration. Enforcing it will hold government agencies accountable.” Joe Biden changes rules to avoid new regulatory scrutiny

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