|For Immediate Release
July 14, 2011
Contact: Kim Smith Hicks, 202-225-3951
Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith
Full Committee Markup of
H.R. 2480, “Administrative Conference of the United States Reauthorization Act of 2011”
Chairman Smith: The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) is a small but important institution. It is a narrowly focused, historically successful non-partisan body that offers an outstanding forum for innovation in administrative law and practice.
Due to a lack of funding, the Conference went dormant in 1996. It was revived under this Committee’s leadership in the 111th Congress. I am glad that once again it is able to make contributions to administrative law reform.
Lately, the need to reform our administrative law has become even more urgent. With the long-promised economic recovery yet to arrive, the top priority for both Congress and the executive branch should be to create jobs.
Regulations impose a $1.75 trillion burden annually on the American economy. Reducing this burden will help create jobs and speed our economic recovery. More than ever before, we need to ensure that regulatory agencies do not excessively burden job creators with over-regulation.
Regulatory agencies must be efficient, effective, and accountable. This is at the heart of the Conference’s historical mission.
The Conference is uniquely positioned to generate many savings for very little cost. Recommendations from the Conference will save taxpayer dollars by helping agencies work more efficiently.
The Conference also will help agencies adopt better and less burdensome regulations to reduce that $1.75 trillion regulatory load on the economy.
For example, the Social Security Administration saved $85 million dollars by adopting an ACUS recommendation to eliminate an unnecessary step in its appeals process. The Conference’s budget was $1.8 million at the time.
And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation saved more than $9 million in legal fees in the first 18 months of a pilot program implementing an ACUS recommendation to make greater use of alternative dispute resolution.
ACUS also encourages agencies to expand the use of video hearings. The Social Security Administration has saved $59 million by doing more hearings by video conference. This ACUS recommendation has the potential to save millions more across the federal government.
The Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law’s December 2006 Interim Report on regulatory reform contained numerous suggested reforms that ACUS could examine.
The annual funding this bill authorizes for the Conference is 14% less than currently authorized. During these difficult economic times, all federal agencies are getting less.
The amount this bill authorizes will enable the Conference to perform its most critical work for the next three years. It represents a reasonable level in light of current needs to reduce spending by all federal agencies.
I recommend that the Committee favorably report H.R. 2480.