WASHINGTON (Feb. 27, 2014) — The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) have joined forces to call for reforms in what they say is an overly complex and inefficient government regulatory process.
NAM and the NFIB announced the new alliance Feb. 26 during a panel discussion on federal regulation hosted by the U.S. House of Representatives during its week-long focus on regulations, the two associations said.
They also said they will call on their grassroots networks to engage with Congress and the Obama administration on the need for regulatory reform.
"This is a strong and necessary partnership because manufacturers and small businesses face a disproportionate burden of all regulatory costs," said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.
"While manufacturers recognize the need for regulation, the scope and complexity of rules have made it harder to do business and compete in recent years."
"Poll after poll indicates most Americans feel Washington is doing too much, too fast on regulations," said NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner. "Time and time again, we hear from our members about the complex regulatory climate and how, with a little more transparency and openness, the regulations would be more effective and work more efficiently for everyone."
In 2013 alone, business owners and manufacturers spent more than 67 million hours filling out regulatory paperwork at a total cost of about $112 billion, NAM and the NFIB claim.
Among the other panelists in the Feb. 26 discussion were former Virginia Gov. George Allen, former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman.
At the same time, the NFIB and NAM singled out members of the House for passing H.R. 2804 — the Achieving Less Excess in Regulation and Requiring Transparency (ALERRT) Act — a bill designed to cut burdensome red tape and provide much-needed flexibility to the federal regulatory system.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy," Mr. Danner said, "and their ability to operate efficiently and free of unnecessary regulatory burdens is critical for our country's economic recovery. We urge the Senate to support small businesses and pass this important legislation."
H.R. 2804 would strengthen the regulatory process, the NFIB said, "by requiring agencies to thoroughly analyze the economic impact their rules have on small businesses. In particular, the legislation would expand the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel process, whereby agencies can learn how their regulations will practically affect small entities."
The bill also would give the Office of Advocacy the authority it needs to establish standards for "regulatory flexibility analysis."
Aric Newhouse, senior vice president of policy and government relations, said: "Dollars spent by manufacturers on compliance with unnecessarily cumbersome or duplicative regulations are dollars not spent on capital investment or new employees…. The ALERRT Act contains needed reforms that increase public participation in the rulemaking process while increasing the requirement that agencies utilize better analysis and input from small businesses. "