Last week, the House came back after their failed effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and moved on to other legislative priorities.
This week’s big legislative news was that the House passed, along party lines, a joint resolution reversing an Obama-era Federal Communications Commission rule requiring internet service providers (ISP) to ask customers for their explicit permission before handing user data over to advertiser and other third parties. Many Democrats and outside groups are livid over the legislation and say that the ISPs will now be able to sell your data without your permission. The Senate previously passed the resolution; the Senate’s lead sponsor, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), says the legislation is the first move toward restoring a consumer-friendly approach to internet privacy regulation. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.
Last week the House Small Business Committee held a hearing regarding the effectiveness of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and explored possible ways to reduce the paperwork burden on small businesses. Many of the witnesses said the goal of the PRA has failed in its current form and that the government should strive to produce better data while imposing lower costs on respondents and the federal government. They also explained that, in the long-run, reducing the paperwork burdens on small business will benefit the U.S. economy.
The issue of regulatory audits came up in the hearing. Witnesses noted that many small businesses are one audit away from financial ruin. These audits cause many complications due to the fact that many small businesses may make small mistakes due to the overwhelming paperwork required by the government. They urged the committee to think about getting rid of these regulatory oversights, even if they are well intentioned, because of the risks they pose small businesses.