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Office of Management and Budget
News Release


March 19, 2002

Seeking Public Participation in Regulatory Reform,
OMB Releases Draft Cost-Benefit Report

Washington, DC -- In accordance with the Regulatory Right-to-Know Act, OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) today released a Draft Report on the costs and benefits of federal regulations. The report estimates that federal regulations cost $520 to $620 billion annually, while producing benefits ranging from one-half to three times that amount. A copy of the report can be found at

Apart from seeking public comment on all aspects of the Draft Report, OMB is calling for public nominations for regulatory reform in three areas: reforms that might increase net benefits to the public, ease undue regulatory and paperwork burdens on small businesses, and correct problematic agency "guidance" documents. Once it receives public comment, peer and interagency review, OMB will submit a final report to Congress.


The Draft Report includes information on six other major issues including:


  • The 41 significant federal regulations OMB has cleared since September 11. Aimed at responding to terrorist threats, these rules address urgent matters such as homeland security, immigration control, airline safety, and assistance to businesses harmed by the resulting economic disaster.

  • OIRA’s overall approach for making the regulatory review process more open, transparent, analytically rigorous, and punctual.

  • The five pro-regulation "prompt" letters OIRA has issued covering such issues as lifesaving defibrillators, food labeling requirements, and environmental performance information.

  • The mandatory government-wide guidelines OIRA has released to improve the quality of information federal agencies disseminate to the public. These guidelines will offer a new opportunity for affected members of the public to challenge agencies when poor quality information has been distributed.

  • The regulatory reform activities now underway in developed countries, with a special focus on the European Union.

  • The estimated annual benefits and costs of major federal regulations cleared by OMB from April 1, 1995 to Sept. 30, 2001. The report estimates that the benefits of these regulations range from $49 to $68 billion annually, while their costs range from $51 to $54 billion per year.

OMB also encouraged comments on any cases where consultations under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act were not sufficient or timely enough to have a meaningful impact on the rulemaking process. Finally, OMB has requested suggestions for improving its analytical guidance document.


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