The Hill recently reported that the government shutdown has “all but turned off the regulatory spigot.” The flow of new rules from federal agencies has nearly paused since the shutdown, over 100 proposed regulations already forwarded to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for approval are frozen. Even if it does not last for long, some members of the small business community are welcoming the red tape reprieve.
NFIB Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations Coalition Chairwoman Former Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), commented that there is some truth to the suggestion that small businesses are partly relieved about the regulatory halt, “If they think (the shutdown) potentially it means a week without regulations, they’re thinking, ‘Great, I have a week to catch up.’”
Thousands of government employees at regulatory agencies have been furloughed indefinitely while Congress works to restart the government – some agencies are operating with fewer than 10 percent of their normal workforce. Thus, regulatory activities have taken a seat on the sidelines while “essential” government employees have to limit their focus to the most important functions to protect lives and property.
NFIB’s monthly Small Business Optimism Index consistently shows government regulations and red tape as the single most important concerns for small business owners. The temporary halt in new federal regulations is a welcome reprieve, but in order to modernize our outdated and in-efficient federal regulatory process, elected leaders in Washington must attach the highest priority to enact reform measures to improve business conditions for job creators.