-House Republicans are pitching their Federal Communications Commission reg reform bills as a way to apply President Barack Obama's regulatory reform principles to independent agencies -- in this case the FCC -- not bound by his Executive Order on regulatory review.
That is according to the majority staff memo in advance of next week's markup of the bills.
"Many of the provisions are based on principles contained in the president's January 2011 Executive Order," said the Republican staffers. "Because that order applies only to executive agencies, it does not bind the Commission. While Chairman Genachowski has made good progress in improving process, only statutory changes can ensure that best practices continue from one administration to the next."
The staffers suggested that the FCC's handling of the recently released Universal Service Reform order was not one of those best practices.
"The Commission added hundreds of pages of documents into the record at the last minute, giving parties almost no time to respond," they wrote in the memo." And the Commission has still not released the text of the adopted order, preventing stakeholders and the public from knowing what the Commission has done."
The chairman did circulate an updated draft, reflecting input from stakeholders, only days before the Oct. 27 vote, in part to reflect the input of stakeholders on the initial draft. The FCC also gave stakeholders an extra day to weigh in, shortening the sunshine period by a day.
The bills (HR 3309 and 3310) would require the FCC to justify regulations according to costs and benefits, survey the state of the marketplace periodically, and before initiating any new rulemakings, take other steps to make sure the public is getting bang for its regulatory buck, apply shot clocks to decisions, put a "narrowly tailored" restriction on all merger conditions, and a lot more.
It is part of a broader Republican effort to apply cost-benefit analysis and other requirements to new regulations.