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<p>WASHINGTON-The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a draft to Congress regarding the streamlining of federal regulations. OMB is now asking for comments on the report, which suggests that agencies provide data weighing the costs and benefits of regulations into the future, as well as a review of existing regulations. The comment period ends 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. OMB performed a calculation of the major regulations it cleared from April 1, 1995 through September 30, 2001. The study tallied the benefits of the regs at $49 to $68 billion, while the costs were somewhere between $51 and $54 billion. Therefore, the costs of many regulations could have outweighed the benefits. In addition to specific regulatory issues, OMB is also asking for comments in three general areas, including: Reforms to specific existing regulations that, if adopted, would increase overall net benefits to the public, considering both qualitative and quantitative factors. These reforms might include (1) extending or expanding existing regulatory programs; (2) simplifying or modifying existing rules or (3) or rescinding outmoded or unnecessary rules. Identification of specific regulations, guidance documents, and paperwork requirements that impose especially large burdens on small businesses and other small entities without an adequate benefit justification. Reviews of problematic agency “guidance” documents of national or international significance. CUNA Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn said that this type of review should be a boon to credit unions in reducing regulatory burden. If these guidelines are finalized, agency regulations that do not pass muster can be overturned or sent back to the agency for changes. OMB also is requesting comments on how to make the regulatory review process more open and timely.</p>

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