The Carter administration has proposed the creation of a new federal "superagency" to oversee and monitor federal regulation.
Structured along the lines of the General Services Administration and the newly created Office of Personnel Management, the new agency would have a management oversight function similar to those two agencies.
The proposal, a draft of a bill the White House wants to send to Congress, would use as its base the Administrative Conference, a free-standing agency established in 1964 to make recommendations on how to run the government efficiently. It would add to this panel's duties several existing functions now scattered throughout the government to create a new agency called the Office of Regulatory (and Statistical) Management.
Administration officials, who circulated the proposed bill among regulators yesterday, stressed in interviews that the bill was not designed to expand the powers of the executive branch over independent regulatory agencies.
But several regulators expressed concern, particularly since the newly created Regulatory Council would become part of the new agency.
The new agency would take the coordinating function of the regulatory council, the publication function of the Federal Register, the statistical policy function of the Commerce Department, the form clearance function of the Office of Management and Budget and assorted research functions from other federal agencies and put them under one umbrella.
The proposed legislation would also require independent agencies to do cost-benefit analyses for all proposed regulations and review every regulation at least once every 10 years.
The agency would have oversight over the reporting function of all agencies, and would have a hand in designing forms used for reporting on proposed regulations.
The proposed bill would also provide an estimated $20 million to pay for public participation in regulatory agency proceedings and encourage reductions in regulatory delay.
Under the administration's proposal the agency's mission would be to improve the management of the rulemaking process, coordinate and improve the quality and relevance of the Federal Statistical System, and help coordinate overall information-collection throughout the government.
The new agency would be responsible for publishing the Regulatory Calendar, a semi-annual publication of all proposed major regulations. The first volume was published earlier this week.
It would also have responsibilities in the area of overlapping jurisdictions. For example, the agency would coordinate the efforts of several agencies working together on an issue, such as the present four-agency group working on a single federal policy on carcinogen regulation.
The agency would have a staff at least of 232 people and a budget of more than $13 million. But administration sources stressed that both the personnel and the money would come from the agencies that now house the functions to be transferred to the new entity.
Administration sources said the proposal would expand the role of the Regulatory Council, "and give it some clout."