Issue #36 * March 12,1996 * David A. Ridenour, Editor
Experience With Small Business Growth Bill Shows
It's Hard to Take the Offensive While in Full Retreat
The Small Business Growth and Administrative Accountability Act (H.R. 994) sponsored by Representatives Henry Hyde (R-IL), William Clinger (R-PA) and David McIntosh (R-IN) was withdrawn from House floor consideration on March 5, the very day it was introduced, after the White House issued a veto threat. The bill included three key provisions: Title I: Strengthening Regulatory Flexibility. This provision would strengthen the Regulatory Flexibility Act by allowing small businesses to challenge certain agency actions or inactions in court. Title II: Administrative Review. This provision, among other things, would require federal agencies to periodically review major rules to determine whether they should be continued, modified, or consolidated with other rules or terminated. The provision would also establish a petition process that will permit the public and appropriate congressional committees to request review of less economically-costly regulations. Title III: Congressional Review. This provision would allow Congress to review major rules to determine whether they should be "vetoed" before being permitted to take effect. The White House was most concerned about Title II of the measure, which, it argued, would bog down the agencies and divert already limited resources away from vital enforcement functions. But the provision would have required agencies to do no more than President Clinton has already ordered them to do -- a top-to-bottom review of all major rules. The key difference between the President's order and H.R. 994 is that the House measure would have added much-needed teeth to the President's order, permitting the courts to get involved if agencies failed to follow through with their reviews. The GOP's retreat on the Small Business Growth and Administrative Accountability Act demonstrates the difficulty in launching an offensive on regulatory issues while the party is in full-scale retreat on these issues. The GOP lost momentum on environmental and regulatory issues last June and has been running from them ever since. One observer noted, "The Republican guard on Capitol Hill rivals even the Iraqi Republican Guard when it comes to surrender. If they were going to be so quick to capitulate, they never should have picked a fight in the first place." House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) reportedly made the call to withdraw the bill and has tasked Representatives David McIntosh (R-IN) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), who led the opposition to the Clean Water Act Amendments, to craft a compromise bill. Meanwhile, the measure will be taken up in Senate where the prospects for a vote on it appear to be better.
Bond, Nickles to Take Up
"Number One Priority" of Small Business
Senators Kit Bond (R-MO) and Don Nickles (R-OK) will hold a press conference Wednesday, March 13 at 10:30 A.M. in Room 428A Russell Senate Office Building to discuss the issue voted the number one priority of small business at last year's White House Conference on Small Business -- clarifying the definition of an independent contractor. Senators Nickles and Bond are introducing a bill to correct ambiguity in the IRS's definition of an independent contractor. "This legislation will allow small business owners to understand the law and let them operate as independent contractors or hire them without fearing the IRS. The effect will be to encourage entrepreneurship, enhance job creation and increase economic activity," said Senator Nickles. For more information, contact Senator Bond's office, (202)224-8584 or Senator Nickles' office, (202)224-6011.
Ewing Offers Separate Reg Flex Reform Bill
Representative Tom Ewing (R-IL) has introduced H.R. 3048, stand alone legislation to provide judicial review of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). "Because judicial review of the RFA has garnered so much bipartisan support in both the Congress and the administration, I believe the time has come for the House and Senate to separate RFA judicial review from other more controversial regulatory reform proposals," said Representative Ewing. "If we do this, our small business constituents will begin to see the benefits of more rational regulations immediately while we continue to work for broader reforms." For more information, contact Eric Nicoll at (202)225-2371.
Clinger, Stevens to Introduce Measure
to Curb Lobbying by Government Employees
Representative Bill Clinger (R-PA) and Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) will hold a press conference Wednesday, March 13 at 10:30 A.M. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building to announce their joint legislative effort to curb lobbying by executive branch employees. "Too many federal agencies have been using public funds to produce propaganda and lobbying material... I cannot permit the misuse of taxpayer dollars for lobbying to continue." For more information, contact Ed Amorosi at (202)225-5074.
Food and Drug Administration Labels
Envelope a "Medical Device"
Last July, the Massachusetts Psychemedics Corporation began selling a kit that allows parents to determine if their children use drugs by testing hair samples. The kit -- which sells for $75 -- consists of nothing more than an envelope and a set of instructions. But in August, the FDA informed Psychemedics that it's mail-in kit required approval as a medical device. The company has continued to sell the kits and has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn the FDA's ruling.
"Putting People Back Into the Regulatory Equation"
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