What are Federal Regulatory Agencies?
Federal regulatory agencies are the agency or government department that has responsibility for the legislation (acts and regulations) for a given sector of the United States government. The United States Congress forms regulatory agencies and they exist at both the federal and state level. The United States President is responsible for appointing agency leaders.
Note: Many of these agencies, departments, and commissions are being affected by the current government shutdown. As a result, some services may be unavailable. Visit the individual websites to learn what services are currently unavailable.
List of U.S. federal regulatory agencies:
- Army Corps of Engineers – The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for providing vital public and military engineering services to strengthen the country’s security. In addition, the Army Corp of Engineers works to energize the economy and reduce risks from natural disasters.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is a law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Justice. First, the ATF protects communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, and the illegal use and trafficking of firearms. In addition, the ATF protects citizens from the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is responsible for protecting market users and the public from fraud, manipulation, abusive practices, and systemic risk related to derivatives that are subject to the Commodity Exchange Act, and to foster open, competitive, and financially sound markets.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission – The Consumer Product Safety Commission is an independent federal regulatory agency. Its mission is to protect the public against the risk of injuries, or even death, from using consumer products. The commission works with the industry to conduct research, develop standards and obtain product recalls. In addition, CPSC helps to educate consumers.
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – The Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for fulfilling President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans. However, people generally view the VA as a poorly run segment of the government, even though it serves an important function.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – The Drug Enforcement Agency is responsible for enforcing the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States. Therefore, the DEA focuses on organizations and principal members of organizations (such as mobs, gangs, and cartels). These organizations grow, manufacture, or distribute controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit drug traffic. Additionally, the DEA supports programs designed to reduce the availability of drugs.
- Employment and Training Administration (ETA) – A division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Employment and Training Administration website provides resources to help people find a job, get government assistance, and apply for government grants. The website also provides the latest unemployment numbers and other economic statistics.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – The Environmental Protection Agency has the important mission of protecting human health and the environment. The EPA works to ensure that all Americans are free from significant risks where they live, learn and work. In recent months, President Donald Trump has taken unprecedented steps to dismantle parts of the EPA, viewing it as an impediment to business.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee. For example, it is illegal to discriminate because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.
- Farm Credit Administration (FCA) – Created in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the mission of the Farm Credit Administration is to ensure a safe, sound, and dependable source of credit and related services for agriculture and rural America.
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – The mission of the Federal Aviation Administration is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. The FAA oversees things like airport safety and compliance, air traffic control, aircraft licensing and certificates, regulations and policies, training and testing, and much more.
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. They are an independent government agency that Congress oversees. The commission has primary authority for communications law, regulation, and technological innovation. On the FCC website, the consumer can file complaints, public comments, and public safety reports.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is one of the federal regulatory agencies created by Congress. Its purpose is to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation’s financial system. For example, the FDIC insures deposits, monitors financial institutions for safety, soundness, and consumer protection, and more. For example, the FDIC insures that each depositor is insured to at least $250,000 per insured bank. This gives the public confidence that their money is safe. In turn, this promotes confidence in the banking system and stability in the economy.
- Federal Election Commission (FEC) – The mission of this independent federal regulatory agency is to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act, which governs the financing of federal elections. The FEC is responsible for disclosing campaign finance information and enforcing the provisions of the law. Examples include the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and overseeing the public funding of Presidential elections.
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – The FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, electricity, natural gas, and hydropower projects.
- Federal Highway Administration (FHA) – The FHA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that supports State and local governments. Mainly, they provide support in the design, construction, and maintenance of the United States highway system. In addition, they provide support for federally and tribal-owned lands.
- Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) – The FMC is an independent federal agency responsible for regulating the U.S. international ocean transportation system for the benefit of exporters, importers, and consumers.
- Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) – Created by the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, the Federal Railroad Administration is one of ten agencies within the U.S. Department of Transportation focused on intermodal transportation.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – The FTC is responsible for preventing business practices that are anti-competitive, deceptive, or unfair to consumers. Also, the FTC is responsible for informing consumer choices and creating a greater public understanding of the competitive process.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA is responsible for protecting public health. In addition, they ensure the safety of the country’s food supply. The FDA accomplishes its mission by ensuring the safety and security of both human and veterinary drugs. In addition, this includes biological products, medical devices, cosmetics, tobacco products, and more.
- Office of Energy & Renewable Energy – The Office of Energy & Renewable Energy is responsible for accelerating the development and deployment of energy efficiency. For example, this includes renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.
- United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – The NRC is an independent agency that is responsible for ensuring the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment. Primarily, the NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials. For example, they monitor nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection, and enforcement of its requirements.
- United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) – The Securities and Exchange Commission, more commonly referred to as the SEC, protects investors and seeks to maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.
Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) – The ICC was the first of the U.S. government’s federal regulatory agencies. Its purpose was to monitor and control unfair business practices by railroad companies. However, the Commission ceased operations in 1996.
Questions, Comments, and Suggestions
If you have any questions about Federal Regulatory Agencies, please leave a comment below. Also, please see our more extensive list of U.S. Government Agencies.