H.R. 4195, Federal Register Modernization Act

Cost Estimate
April 1, 2014

As ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on March 12, 2014

CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4195 would have no significant effect on the federal budget. The legislation would amend federal laws regarding the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which provide comprehensive information about actions of the United States Government. The legislation would end requirements to print the Federal Register or the CFR and for agencies to provide multiple copies of their submissions to the Federal Register. The bill would change references from printing those publications to publishing them, and publishing could include making those publications available online.

Under the Federal Register Act, the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) within the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) produces the Federal Register. That publication compiles and organizes thousands of rules, regulations, executive orders, presidential documents, and notices generated by federal departments and agencies. Currently, the Federal Register is updated daily and is printed and published Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The OFR, working with the Government Printing Office (GPO), has made the Federal Register available online since 1994. In addition, the OFR produces the CFR, which contains all agency rules that first appeared in the Federal Register.

Under the legislation, OFR would no longer be required to print the Federal Register or CFR, but would still have to make it available online. Based on information from NARA and GPO, CBO expects that copies of the Federal Register and CFR would continue to be produced following enactment of H.R. 4195 to meet the demand for printed documents. We expect agencies’ administrative costs would be reduced because fewer copies of printed material would be submitted to the Federal Register, but we estimate that any such savings over the next five years would be small because most of the costs associated with the submission of those documents involves their preparation, not their duplication.

H.R. 4195 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.