Congressional Research Service
[From Summary] …Regulatory analytical requirements (e.g., cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis) have been established incrementally during the last 40 to 50 years through a series of presidential and congressional initiatives…The most extensive and broadly applicable of the requirements are in Executive Order 12866 and OMB Circular A-4, but they do not apply to independent regulatory agencies. The statutes that provide rulemaking authority to independent regulatory agencies often require them to “consider” regulatory costs and benefits, but do not specifically require cost-benefit analysis.
A number of bills have been introduced in the 112th Congress that would codify and expand the executive order’s requirements for cost-benefit analysis (S. 602, H.R. 1281, S. 1219, and H.R. 2204); apply the executive order’s principles to independent regulatory agencies (S. 358); require cost-benefit analysis for certain agencies’ rules (H.R. 1840, H.R. 2175, H.R. 2308, and S. 1292); or improve the implementation of the RFA and UMRA (S. 474, S. 1030, H.R. 527, S. 817, S. 1189, and H.R. 373)…
Congress could decide to keep the existing analytical framework in place, or could enact one or more of these reform proposals. Another more comprehensive approach could be to consolidate all of the analytical requirements in one place, and perhaps expand those requirements to include more agencies or rules, or to require different types of analysis. To do so, or to simply cover independent regulatory agencies by the executive order, the President could arguably amend Executive Order 12866 and OMB Circular A-4, or Congress could enact legislation. Any such changes must be cognizant of the state of existing law in this area, and the resources and data required for agencies to carry out the analyses.