WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today introduced the “Small Business Regulatory Freedom Act” to ensure that federal agencies fully consider small business economic impact during the regulatory process.  This comprehensive legislation would overhaul and strengthen the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).  Senator Ayotte (R-NH) is an original cosponsor of this legislation.

“Excessive regulations are suffocating the entrepreneurial spirit of America’s almost 30 million small businesses and, regrettably, small firms with fewer than 20 employees bear a disproportionate burden of complying with these rules,” said Senator Snowe.  “Indeed, in my recent street tours and meetings in Maine, small businesses are understandably alarmed by the onerous regulations emanating from every agency and every sphere of Washington, DC.  Undoubtedly, effective and lasting regulatory reform will require significant attention to the impact of both current and future federal rules, and this comprehensive legislation will cut the regulatory red tape requirements that are stifling our primary job creators and adding another layer of uncertainty to operating costs that discourage potential employers from adding to their payrolls.”

“Seventy-five percent of Americans believe the size and scope of the federal government must be reduced, yet burdensome regulations continue to be placed on small business owners across the nation.  Just as private businesses are required to conduct exhaustive cost-analyses, the Small Business Regulatory Freedom Act would force federal agencies to do the same.  This bill would help protect small businesses from unnecessary and burdensome regulations and allow the free market to create jobs,” said Dr. Coburn.

“I applaud Senators Snowe and Coburn for introducing a strong regulatory reform bill that requires federal regulators to measure the impact of their proposed rules on job creation,” said Susan Eckerly, Senior Vice President of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).  “According to our latest NFIB Small Business Economic Trends report, government regulation is the single most significant problem for 17% of small business owners, which is up from 13% just a year ago.  The Small Business Regulatory Freedom Act of 2011 will help to prevent the threat of costly new regulations and we appreciate their leadership on job creation in the small business sector.”

Key provisions of this legislation include:

  • Including “Indirect” Economic Impact in Small Business Analyses
  • Judicial Review to Allow Small Entities to Challenge Proposed Regulations
  • Periodic Review and Sunset of Existing Rules
  • Requiring Small Business Review Panels for All Federal Agencies
  • Expanding the Regulatory Flexibility Act to Agency Guidance Documents