U.S. Chamber Commends Cornyn's Legislation Requiring Review of Public Comments

By The SE Texas Record | Oct 7, 2010


WASHINGTON, D.C.�The U.S. Chamber of Commerce commended U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for introducing a bill that would require departments within the administration to review public comments before issuing final regulations.

According to a Congressional Research Service report issued Oct. 7, traditional notice and comment procedures have been bypassed in at least 10 regulatory instances implementing the new health reform law. Cornyn's legislation would force the Departments to alter their course.

"These health reform regulations implement tremendous change before comments from stakeholders are carefully evaluated," said Randy Johnson, senior vice president for Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits.

"Given the dramatic impact of these new rules, it is improper for the departments to adopt a process that fails to ensure that public comment will be considered. Senator Cornyn's bill would require that regulators instead follow a procedure that is far more likely to lead to the thoughtful promulgation of reasonable regulations."

The departments have circumvented traditional notice and comment procedures to implement the recently-passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) outlines rulemaking processes that regulators must follow and does permit regulators to use an expedited process in exceptional circumstances.

"Although 'good cause' exceptions under the APA permit departments to issue interim final rules in limited circumstances, the departments are short-circuiting the rulemaking process and mischaracterizing the ability of affected stakeholders to respond to the regulations issued," continued Johnson. "The departments are instead issuing most regulations implementing the new health care law as interim final regulations which may become final and effective before the departments have any opportunity to review the comments and revise the regulations accordingly."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Editor's Note: The Southeast Texas Record is owned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform.

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