21st-Century Regulations Require 21st-Century Information Sharing

Last month, with the stroke of a pen, President Trump took a big step toward bringing our federal rulemaking process into the 21st century. The recently-enacted Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act calls for improved data sharing between federal agencies, better public access to government data and new default transparency rules, along with basic privacy protections.

For modern manufacturers, data-driven decisions are central to 21st-century business operations. Federal agencies, on the other hand, often employ 20th-century technologies, struggling to collect data—and share that data—among agencies. As a result, agencies go about the regulatory process without an understanding of what other agencies are doing in the same space. Manufacturers bear the burden of this process, often sending the same information to multiple agencies or even multiple departments within the same agency.

This new law draws on recommendations from the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking and improves how data-based evidence is used to develop federal policies through strengthening federal agency data evaluation capacity, improving data sharing between agencies and making information as accessible as possible without compromising security. Under the new law, agencies must appoint senior leaders to implement better data collection systems—making data more streamlined across agencies, facilitating public access to evidence-based information while protecting privacy and confidential information.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has long encouraged the federal government to utilize all available data and evidence in developing regulations and supports an increased ability for manufacturers to access data agencies use to inform decisions. Manufacturers deserve smarter regulations, and the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act is a significant win that will advance their ability to work with federal agencies as they implement policies.

Graham Owens

Graham serves as the Director for Legal and Regulatory Policy with the NAM, where he drives a legal and regulatory reform agenda aimed at promoting a smarter and more efficient regulatory and legal climate for manufacturers through the application of reason and sound science in decision-making and the minimization unnecessary regulations and lawsuits. Graham received a J.D. from George Washington University School of Law and B.A. from the University of Virginia.

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