WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) says over $1 billion in savings identified by the Administration’s own preliminary review of federal regulations at 30 agencies underscores the need to require regular and comprehensive reviews of all government regulations on the books. Snowe, the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, was recently denied a vote on an amendment requiring such comprehensive reviews, which could potentially save small businesses from significant costs and red tape currently stifling their ability to grow, prosper, and create jobs.

“A top concern I continue to hear from small business owners and job creators in Maine and around the nation is that onerous federal regulations are inhibiting their ability to grow,” said Senator Snowe.  “In just four months, 30 federal agencies have identified over $1 billion in savings by eliminating unwarranted regulations and what the president himself called ‘absurd and unnecessary paperwork requirements that waste time and money.’”

“I call on my colleagues in Congress to continue this momentum in the fight against onerous regulatory burdens holding back innovators and job creators nationwide by supporting the FREEDOM Act, legislation I recently introduced requiring all federal agencies to review the small business economic impact of the rules on their books.  By examining the effectiveness and purpose of federal regulations, we can achieve our shared goals of protecting the environment, consumers, and worker safety while encouraging small businesses to do what they do best – create jobs and innovate for the future.”

The FREEDOM Act would strengthen the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the seminal legislation enacted in 1980 requiring federal agencies to conduct small business analyses for any regulation that would impose a significant impact on a substantial number of small firms.   Highlights of the FREEDOM Act (S. 1030) include provisions to:

-          Require that agencies consider indirect economic impacts in small business analyses;

-          Enforce existing periodic rule review requirements and penalize agencies that refuse to conduct these reviews;

-          Add nine new small business review panels at federal agencies whose rules have the largest economic impact on small businesses;

-          Provide for judicial review at an earlier point in the federal rulemaking process; and,

-          Extend the RFA to agency guidance documents, so that federal agencies must conduct small business economic analyses before publishing those documents.  Recently, agencies have subverted the rulemaking process by relying on documents that agencies can issue without having to adhere to their RFA obligations.