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                                                      Calendar No. 45
116th Congress      }                                   {      Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                   {      116-14
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

 

       PROVIDING ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2019

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                 S. 395

         TO REQUIRE EACH AGENCY, IN PROVIDING NOTICE OF A RULE
 MAKING, TO INCLUDE A LINK TO A 100 WORD PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY OF THE 
                             PROPOSED RULE








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                 March 25, 2019.--Ordered to be printed  
                                   ______
		 
                     U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 
		 
89-010                    WASHINGTON : 2019                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
MITT ROMNEY, Utah                    KAMALA D. HARRIS, California
RICK SCOTT, Florida                  KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             JACKY ROSEN, Nevada
JOSH HAWLEY, Missouri

                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Staff Director
                  Joseph C. Folio, III, Chief Counsel
                   Satya P. Thallam, Chief Economist
               David M. Weinberg, Minority Staff Director
               Zachary I. Schram, Minority Chief Counsel
      Ashley E. Poling, Minority Director of Governmental Affairs
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk










                                                      Calendar No. 45
116th Congress      }                                   {      Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                   {      116-14
======================================================================



 
       PROVIDING ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

                 March 25, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 395]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 395) to require 
each agency, in providing notice of a rule making, to include a 
link to a 100 word plain language summary of the proposed rule, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.








                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................2
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................2
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................3
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................3
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............4




                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act of 
2019 requires Federal agencies to include, as part of a notice 
of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), a link to a 100-word or less, 
plain language summary of the proposed rule. The summary itself 
will be made available on the website ``regulations.gov.''\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\On June 28, 2017, the Committee approved S. 577, Providing 
Accountability Through Transparency Act of 2017. That bill is 
substantially similar to S. 395. Accordingly, this committee report is 
in large part a reproduction of Chairman Johnson's committee report for 
S. 577, S. Rep. No. 115-120.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

              II. Background and the Need for Legislation

    The Administrative Procedure Act (APA)\2\ forms the 
procedural basis by which Federal agencies issue most 
regulations and other policies. The APA, which has been called 
the result of a ``fierce compromise,''\3\ is intended as a 
means to enable agencies to engage in policymaking while 
promoting the interests of those nongovernmental parties 
affected.\4\ Specifically, the procedure outlined in Section 
553 of the APA for so-called ``informal'' rulemaking 
``establishes the minimum procedural requirements''\5\ that 
agencies must observe for most regulations.\6\ Because 
regulations issued through such a process are generally 
considered legally binding, the APA formalizes a notice to the 
public of a forthcoming rule, and at that point establishes an 
early opportunity for the general public to submit comments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Pub. Law 79-404, 60 Stat. 237.
    \3\George B. Shepherd, ``Fierce Compromise: The Administrative 
Procedure Act Emerges from New Deal Politics,'' Northwestern University 
Law Review, Vol. 90, No. 4.
    \4\Id.
    \5\Emily S. Bremer, ``A Primer on the Informal Rulemaking 
Process,'' Administrative Fix (blog), Administrative Conference of the 
United States, May 10, 2013, https://www.acus.gov/newsroom/
administrative-fix-blog/primer-informal-rulemaking-process.
    \6\5 U.S.C. Sec. 553.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    However, the public's ability to offer useful feedback 
through comments, especially parties who may not be experts in 
the particular subject of the rule, is dependent upon the 
clarity and simplicity of the proposal. Therefore, this bill 
offers a uniform and universally accessible standard for 
agencies to better communicate their intended policies to the 
public: a 100-word plain language summary made available by 
agencies at regulations.gov.

                        III. Legislative History

    Senator James Lankford (R-OK) introduced S. 395 on February 
7, 2019, with Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), James E. Risch 
(R-ID), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Doug 
Jones (D-AL). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The Committee 
considered S. 395 at a February 13, 2019 business meeting.
    The Committee ordered S. 395 reported favorably on February 
13, 2019, by voice vote en bloc. Senators present for the vote 
were Johnson, Portman, Paul, Lankford, Romney, Scott, Enzi, 
Hawley, Peters, Carper, Hassan, Harris, Sinema, and Rosen.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the bill's short title, the 
``Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act of 2017.''

Section 2. Requirement to post a 100 word summary to regulations.gov

    This section amends the list of information required for 
inclusion when agencies issue a notice of proposed rulemaking 
to add that they also include a link to a 100-word or less 
summary of the proposed rule. The summary shall be posted to 
regulations.gov.

                   V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, March 1, 2019.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 
        United States Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 395, the Providing 
Accountability Through Transparency Act of 2019.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is David Hughes.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

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    S. 395 would require agencies to post an internet address 
link to a 100-word maximum summary of any proposed rule 
published in the Federal Register that would take the reader to 
the concise summary posted on regulations.gov. The June 1, 
1998, Presidential Memorandum on Plain Language and Executive 
Order 13563 already require agencies to use plain language in 
all proposed and final rules. CBO expects that preparing the 
short summary of proposed rules under S. 395 would not 
significantly increase agencies' administrative costs. CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 395 would have no significant 
cost over the next five years.
    Enacting S. 395 could affect direct spending by some 
agencies (such as the Tennessee Valley Authority) because they 
are authorized to use receipts from the sale of goods, fees, 
and other collections to cover their operating costs. Because 
most of those agencies can adjust the amounts collected as 
operating costs change, CBO estimates that any net changes in 
direct spending by those agencies would be negligible.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is David Hughes. 
This estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 395 as reported are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE 5--GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION AND EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART I--THE AGENCIES GENERALLY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 5--ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subchapter II--Administrative Procedure

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 553. RULE MAKING

    (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (b) * * *
          (1) * * *
          (2) reference to the legal authority under which the 
        rule is proposed; [and]
          (3) either the terms or substance of the proposed 
        rule or a description of the subjects and issues 
        involved[.]; and
          (4) the Internet address of a summary of not more 
        than 100 words in length of the proposed rule, in plain 
        language, that shall be posted on the Internet website 
        under section 206(d) of the E-Government Act of 2002 
        (44 U.S.C. 3501 note) (commonly known as 
        regulations.gov).

                                  [all]