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Buried Federal Regulation Reduction Proposals



Deep within the more than 800 pages of regulatory reduction proposals the White House released on Tuesday are some items that may not jump out to the casual reader of the finalized plans. Below are some highlights.

Federal Railroad Administration (Department of Transportation)


In its proposal, the FRA said that it is considering looking into revising or eliminating requirements related to the agency’s rule related to positive train control, a technology to help prevent some train collisions, derailments, and injuries to railway road workers. The agency expects initial savings of between $225 million and $400 million, and long-term savings of between $440 million and $1.04 billion.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Department of Health and Human Services)

CMS has finalized a rule for 2012 to eliminate the requirement for hospitals to rely on actuarial determinations in reporting their pension costs. The agency estimates that eliminating the requirement will save hospitals $375,000 annually.


Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council

FAR, which provides direction and coordination to federal procurement activities, has begun a “myth-busting” campaign to dispel perceptions among federal agency officials that they shouldn’t seek information from potential venders during the acquisition and procurement process, even though the potential venders are the “best source of information” for use in developing acquisition strategies, according to FAR. The belief is based in part on a “fear of binding the agency in an unauthorized manner.” The campaign’s goal would be to educate agency officials about what acquisition regulations allow, thereby encouraging discussions between agencies and venders, which will make the acquisition process more efficient than now. No savings were specified.

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (Treasury Department)

TTB proposes reducing the number of tax-report forms that the owners of distilled spirits plants must file monthly or quarterly, from four to two. The agency expects that this reduction will save those companies significant staff time in preparing the forms and the agency in processing them.


Fish and Wildlife Services, National Marine Fisheries Service (Department of the Interior)

These agencies, which largely administer the Endangered Species Act, propose minimizing the written descriptions of endangered species’ habitats in favor of map- and Internet-based descriptions. Providing these descriptions with maps and the Internet would be clearer, which would save money, according to the Department of the Interior’s proposal.

Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (State Department)

Among the many ideas for streamlining regulations, the directorate seeks a new licensing exemption for the “temporary export for personal use of chemical agent protective gear.” The directorate also intends to revise the form that is used to register as “defense exporters/manufacturers/brokers.” The revision would represent a “burden reduction of 10,000 hours annually.”

National Marine Fisheries Service (Department of Commerce)

The agency started a work group to develop a single place for people to apply for permits to fish in federal fisheries.




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