The main statutory function of ACUS is to bring together the public and private sectors to recommend improvements to administrative and regulatory processes.

ACUS’s Office of the Chairman, with the approval of the Council, engages consultants to study administrative processes or procedures that may need improvement. Consultants or in-house staff then prepare a comprehensive research report proposing recommendations.  An ACUS committee discusses this report, preparing a draft Recommendation to submit to the Council and, with approval, to the Assembly.  Following a debate the Assembly adopts the final Recommendation, which ACUS undertakes to implement.

                                                                               ACUS Recommendation Process

On occasion, the ACUS membership has acted to adopt a “Statement” to express its views on a particular matter without making a formal recommendation on the subject.  ACUS statements are typically the product of the same process that leads to recommendations, but may set forth issues, conclusions from a study, or comments, rather than recommendations.  ACUS has adopted 19 such statements, which are included in the searchable database of recommendations.

  • Recommendation number: 2012-1
  • Adopted on: June 14, 2012
  • Committee: Regulation

Over the past several decades, the United States Congress and various Presidents have imposed numerous regulatory analysis requirements on administrative agencies in connection with their rulemaking activities.  Some of these requirements are relatively sweeping measures designed to ensure that agencies’ regulations advance legitimate goals, such as Executive Order (EO) 12,866’s requirement that executive agencies analyze the...

Project: Midnight Rules
  • Recommendation number: 2012-2
  • Adopted on: June 14, 2012
  • Committee: Rulemaking

There has been a documented increase in the volume of regulatory activity during the last months of presidential terms.[1] This includes an increase in the number of legislative rules (normally issued under the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) notice and comment procedures)[2] and non-legislative rules (such as interpretive rules, policy statements, and guidance documents) as compared to other periods.  This spurt in late-term...

  • Recommendation number: 2012-3
  • Adopted on: June 15, 2012
  • Committee: Adjudication

The U.S. immigration removal adjudication agencies and processes have been the objects of critiques by the popular press, organizations of various types, legal scholars, advocates, U.S. courts of appeals judges, immigration judges, Board of Immigration Appeals members and the Government Accountability Office. Critics have noted how the current immigration adjudication system fails to meet national expectations of fairness and...

The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), enacted in 1980 and revised upon its reauthorization in 1986 and 1995, created the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to oversee information policy within the executive branch. The Act requires, among other things, that agencies secure OMB approval before collecting information from the public. Since 1995, this has meant that...

Many areas of government agency activities are characterized by fragmented and overlapping delegations of power to administrative agencies.  Congress often assigns more than one agency the same or similar functions or divides responsibilities among multiple agencies, giving each responsibility for part of a larger whole.  Instances of overlap and fragmentation are common.  They can be found throughout the administrative state, in...

  • Recommendation number: 2012-6
  • Adopted on: December 6, 2012
  • Committee: Judicial Review

The Administrative Conference of the United States has long had an interest in ensuring appropriate judicial review of Government actions and in considering related questions regarding jurisdiction and forum.  For example, the Conference’s seminal Recommendation 69-1 recommended amendment of the Administrative Procedure Act—subsequently enacted by Congress—to waive sovereign immunity and thereby permit citizens “to challenge in...

Federal agencies in diverse areas have developed third-party programs to assess whether regulated entities are in compliance with regulatory standards and other requirements. Through these programs, third parties assess the safety of imported food, children’s products, medical devices, cell phones and other telecommunications equipment, and electrical equipment used in workplaces. Third parties also ensure that products labeled as...

Civil monetary penalties are used by the Congress and federal agencies to enforce and promote compliance with federal laws and regulations by deterring violations. These laws and regulations serve vital public purposes such as ensuring workplace or transportation safety, preserving the environment, and protecting consumers from dangerous products. As the then Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget testified to...

  • Recommendation number: 2011-1
  • Adopted on: June 16, 2011
  • Committee: Rulemaking

Agencies are increasingly turning to e-Rulemaking to conduct and improve regulatory proceedings.  “E-Rulemaking” has been defined as “the use of digital technologies in the development and implementation of regulations”[1] before or during the informal rulemaking process, i.e., notice-and-comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  It may include many types of activities, such as posting notices of proposed...

  • Recommendation number: 2011-2
  • Adopted on: June 16, 2011
  • Committee: Regulation

One of the primary innovations associated with the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) was its implementation of a comment period in which agencies solicit the views of interested members of the public on proposed rules.[1]  The procedure created by the APA has come to be called “notice-and-comment rulemaking,” and comments have become an integral part of the overall rulemaking process.

In a December 2006 report titled “...