Kerwin talks about lawmaking on CSPAN

University President Neil Kerwin spoke about lobbying and the regulatory process of lawmaking on CSPAN 3.

The talk, held on Jan. 9, was part of AU’s 22nd semiannual Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute.

While Congress proposes, debates and sometimes passes bills into law, public, private and nonprofit agencies determine how to interpret and translate them into practice, Kerwin said.

“People [think] that the entire universe revolve[s] around Capitol Hill. And I think in large part in a city like this that’s understandable. But... rulemaking has been now for almost a century the most important source of law in America,” Kerwin said.

Kerwin also added that when the legislature proves ineffective, rulemaking addresses the constantly changing issues that affect the United States.

This is especially relevant today due to President Barack Obama’s noted use of executive action, Kerwin said. As a result of this dynamic, the public has the responsibility to maintain an active relationship with these agencies to get the changes they want out of the federal government.

“Where I see a real danger is agencies moving to these mutations of rulemaking where the public has less and less input and where the agency feels it’s so on its heels that that’s the only way it can function to keep public policy current,” Kerwin said.

Kerwin has previously served as the Provost and Dean of the School of Public Affairs and also published a book about the regulatory process, titled “Rulemaking: How Government Agencies Write Law and Make Policy.”

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