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Regulatory Action Center Review - December 16, 2020

12/16/2020

Welcome to the Regulatory Action Center (RAC) Review! RAC proudly keeps you up to date on what we’re up to and what we’re keeping our eyes on here in the swamp. We offer resources for you to get involved in the rulemaking process to hold unelected bureaucrats accountable and occasionally offer praise in the event they have a good impulse. We will also highlight the incredible work our activists have done to advance the principles of smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, personal liberty, and the rule of law. For more ways to get involved and stay informed, check the links at the bottom of this post.

RACtivists by the Numbers

Last year, RACtivists submitted a whopping 32,698 comments to 22 different regulatory dockets. They accounted for over a third of the total comments submitted to six of those dockets.

RACtivists by the Numbers

RACtivist Content of the Week

The Regulatory Action Center submitted comments to the Labor-Management Standards Office (LMSO) in support of increasing transparency in labor union financial reporting.

You can read that comment: HERE

Four Things to Know

1) FCC Allocates $9.2B in Reverse Auction For Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Last week, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced the conclusion of the Phase I auction for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund successfully allocated $9.2 billion to help close the digital divide. Bridging the broadband gap experienced by rural Americans has long been a priority for the FCC under the leadership of Chairman Pai. This allocation will be distributed over the next ten years to bring broadband to “more than 10 million rural Americans.”

More resources on this:

Read the press release from FCC: HERE

Read Chairman Pai’s tweet thread: HERE

2) ‘Warp speed’ for the Coronavirus Vaccine Ended When it Reached U.S. Regulators

In a recent Op-Ed published in the Washington Post, columnist Megan McArdle pointed out how deployment of the new COVID-19 vaccine was unnecessarily stalled by the regulatory approval process. Although, as McArdle noted, there are very important reasons for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to not rush through the approval process, the process for approving the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was significantly delayed by the scheduling of the review panels. Fortunately, the FDA has since approved the vaccine, nevertheless, this is merely another case of red tape getting in the way of our response to the virus.

More resources on this:

Read the comments of Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University: HERE

3) Trump Signs Order on Principles for U.S. Government AI Use

Late last week, President Trump signed Executive Order (EO) 13960 on Promoting the Use of Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence in the Federal Government. This long expected order outlines a framework for federal agencies looking to use the power of AI to improve their operations, processes, and procedures. As the EO states, this order lays the foundation for federal agencies to use new tools to “combat fraud, waste, and abuse,” and “accelerate regulatory reform” by more efficiently and accurately dealing with mountains of information inherent to the regulatory process. However, as opponents of this guidance have pointed out, AI comes with huge possibilities and just as many potential pitfalls, making it all the more important that guidelines for its use are laid out.

More resources on this:

Read the full EO: HERE

4) Department of Energy Finalizes NEPA Rule

On January 4, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final rule that outlines new implementing procedures for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This rule is the culmination of a years-long process to modernize NEPA and expedite the approval process for new projects that can currently take up to 7 years to approve. FreedomWorks RACtivists were heavily involved in the initial NPRM for this final rule.

More resources on this:

Read more from FreedomWorks on NEPA: HERE

RAC Resources

You can always find all RAC content (blogs, updates, press releases, and comment campaigns): HERE

You can always sign up to become an elite RACtivist, if you haven’t already: HERE