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Public Papers - 1992

Memorandum on Benefits and Costs of Legislative Proposals


Memorandum for the Heads of Departments and Agencies

Subject: Benefits and Costs of Legislative Proposals

I am today directing the establishment of procedures by which the likely benefits and costs to the American public of legislative proposals are disclosed, to the public and to the Congress, before enactment. These procedures will permit the full and fair evaluation of these benefits and costs, both direct and indirect, as part of the legislative process.

The rational and efficient balancing of the benefits and costs of proposed Federal legislation can be hindered by a lack of key information. Enactment of legislation without consideration of this information may result in costly and inefficient requirements that show the rate of growth of jobs and incomes for the American people. Identifying the benefits and costs of proposed regulatory and other Federal legislation and their indirect effects is a crucial first step in assuring strong economic performance.

I therefore direct the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that quantified estimates of the likely benefits and costs of legislative proposals are provided on a timely basis to the Congress. This shall be undertaken as part of the legislative coordination and clearance process established by OMB, and shall be consistent with the policies stated in existing Executive orders.

Where appropriate, these estimates should include assessments of the effect of the proposed legislation on:

1. The expected benefits and costs for the U.S. economy (including, for example, the impact on consumers, firms, and State and local governments);

2. U.S. employment, inflation, international competitiveness, and economic growth (measured, for example, by gross domestic product); and

3. Outlays and revenues by the Federal government as compared to outlays and revenues for the same activity in the current fiscal year.

Departments and agencies should prepare these estimates in a timely manner for significant elements of legislative proposals under active consideration by the Congress, or to be proposed by a department or agency, that have substantial impact upon the public, and should provide the Office of Management and Budget with such proposed estimates as may be requested by the Director. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall, in consultation with the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, provide technical guidance to agencies on the methodology for preparing high quality and accurate estimates.

George Bush

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