The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) has adopted a recommendation that independent agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), prepare cost-benefit analyses as part of their rulemaking process. While CPSC is required by statute to prepare a regulatory analysis statement describing expected costs and benefits before issuing certain rules, the ACUS recommendation is somewhat broader, calling for the development of written guidance on the preparation of such analyses, updating the cost-benefit analysis as a rulemaking proceeds and changes are made to the rule, and applying the analysis to the proposed rule and its primary alternatives. ACUS is “an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process through consensus-driven applied research, providing nonpartisan expert advice and recommendations for improvement of federal agency procedures.”

Meanwhile, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced a bill (S. 1173) that would authorize the president to require independent agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for any rule with an annual economic impact greater than $100 million. It would also require that these agencies design rules in the “most cost-effective manner to achieve the regulatory objective” and “tailor rules to impose the least burden on society.” According to Portman, “This bill would close the loophole for independent agencies by authorizing the president to bring them within the same regulatory review framework that applies to other agencies. This is a bipartisan, consensus reform with broad support, and it will promote a more stable regulatory environment for economic growth and job creation.” See Sen. Rob Portman News Release, June 18, 2013.