President Carter yesterday signed the Regulatory Flexibility Act, legislation designed to cut red tape and regulatory impact on small businesses.
The administration used the occasion of the signing ceremony to trumpet its record in aiding small and large businesses and in implementing Carter's adoption of recommendations made in a May report resulting from the White House Conference on Small Business. The conference took place in January.
Stuart Eizenstat, Carter's top domestic affairs adviser, told reporters earlier in the day that Carter had endorsed 11 of the top 15 recommendations eminating from the conference, including tax depreciation reform, and support of a proposal to allow firms to offset Social Security tax increases with refundable tax credits.
Administration officials also said the administration had issued procurement regulations and begun projects designed to funnel more government money to small business.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act, which adopts in principal several key elements of a Carter executive order on executive branch regulatory activities, requires agencies to publish semiannually an agenda of new regulations that affect small business, to analyze in detail new rules, and systematically review all rules which may have an "adverse" impact on small business.
But the signing of the bill, which was principally sponsored by Sen. John Culver (D-Iowa) and Rep. Andy Ireland (D-Fla.), comes at a time when the future of a broader, more controversial bill dealing with regulatory reform and federal paperwork, is clouded.
Legislative veto and expanded judicial review proposals, most of which are opposed by the administration, may stymie efforts to enact sweeping regulatory reform proposal during the current Carter term.