The American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce (AmFree Chamber) filed a comment on the FAR Council’s proposed rule on “Federal Acquisition Regulation: Sustainable Procurement.”
The FAR Council’s proposed rule would, among other things, recodify various emissions-related disclosure requirements for businesses providing goods and services to the federal government while also requiring the government to favor “environmentally preferable” and “sustainable products and services” in the procurement process. The proposal is the latest outgrowth of President Biden’s “coordinated whole-of-government approach” to “transition to clean, zero-emission technologies.”
But as AmFree Chamber’s comment points out, “an important part of the ‘whole of government’ is conspicuously missing from [the Biden Administration’s] description—Congress. As the third branch of the ‘whole of government’—the judiciary—has repeatedly had to remind this administration, when the executive branch seeks to do things like ‘transform[ ] how we build, buy, and manage electricity, vehicles, buildings, and other operations,’ it needs clear congressional authorization.”
As the comment explains, this authorization is lacking. When Congress created the FAR Council, it did so “to create[e] ‘an economical and efficient system’ for ‘[p]rocuring . . . property and nonpersonal services,’” by “implementing ‘principles and standards of accounting for property’ and ‘standard purchase specifications and standard forms and procedures’ for the goods and services” procured. The proposed rule has no relation to any of those goals. Instead, “the patchwork of voluntary and vague disclosures elicited by the rule is junk data. The corresponding costs to businesses, by contrast, are very real. Basic principles of economics suggest that these costs are then passed on, at least in part, to the government. Whatever else this may be, it’s not an ‘economical and efficient system.’”
The comment suggests that: "Rather than cling to these unscientific goals and pursue a unilateral energy disarmament, the United States would be better served by making positive energy commitments. This means incentivizing environmentally friendly energy, manufacturing at home, and focusing on reshoring supply chains where U.S. emissions are in U.S. control. This strategy would be good for U.S. industry and U.S. geopolitical influence, and might actually reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions. The proposed rule’s recodification of the disclosure rule does the opposite."
Read the submitted Comment below:
AmFree represents hard-working entrepreneurs and businesses across all sectors to serve as the voice for pro-business and free market values. For decades, AmFree’s members—and American businesses more broadly—have been saddled with overly burdensome regulations and harmed by the insatiable expansion of the federal regulatory state.
AmFree Chamber launched the Center for Legal Action (“CLA”), led by two-time former U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr, to combat administrative overregulation both through agency proceedings and in litigation. To that end, the CLA files comments, such as this, in important regulatory and constitutional cases to support reining in the administrative state and promoting constitutional accountability. Curtailing such bureaucratic overreach, and ensuring officials remain properly accountable to the political branches, is imperative for the growth, prosperity, and competitiveness of the American economy and financial markets.