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Regulatory Reform

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - 8:00pm

Legislative History of the Major Regulatory Reform Bills in the House of Representatives: 112th Congress

The United States House of Representatives passed comprehensive regulatory reform legislation in the 112th Congress.  During the debates on how to structure a more effective and efficient regulatory process, the U.S. Chamber strongly supported and advocated for the passage of these bills.  This suite of bills, if enacted, would be the first time in 65 years that Congress made significant changes as to how agencies make rules and the first time ever that Congress attempted to broadly streamline the federal permitting process.

If there is to be effective regulation, there must be an effective regulatory process in which the agencies issuing the new rules are responsible for ensuring that their rules meaningfully achieve the goals intended.  This can be achieved by ensuring that very high cost rules meet higher standards than routine rules by requiring the use of sound science and data, proper agency oversight, cost-benefit analysis, and a transparent system that gives the public a meaningful voice in the formulation of regulations.  In addition, agencies should be held accountable for complying with all Congressional mandates.

Because of the significance of these bills passed by the House of Representatives, the U.S. Chamber has assembled the complete legislative history of the bills, including text of the bills as passed, the respective committee reports and floor debate.  The concepts incorporated in these bills are essential for controlling an out of control regulatory process.  Therefore, by compiling the legislative history of this thoughtful effort by the House of Representatives into one place, the U.S. Chamber is making public access easily accessible. A summary of the bills is also available HERE.

These documents include:

1. Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 (H.R. 3010)

The Regulatory Accountability Act is a comprehensive bill that makes numerous common-sense reforms, including codifying into law principles contained in Presidential executive orders from both Parties.  The law would, among other things, increase public participation, improve data quality, require agencies to choose the least costly regulatory alternatives, and create on-the-record hearings for the costliest regulations.

2. Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078)

The Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act is actually a package of seven different regulatory reform bills.  It would address many issues, including:

--Streamlining the permitting process for infrastructure projects;
--Helping to prevent the abusive “sue and settle” process whereby environmental advocacy groups and agencies circumvent the rulemaking process by settling lawsuits behind closed-doors; and
--Prohibiting agencies from proposing or finalizing the costliest midnight rules between Election Day and the inauguration of a new President.

The Seven Bills that Made Up the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

a. Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012 (H.R. 4078)
[Note: This bill was used as the vehicle for the comprehensive Red Tape bill.]

b. Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 4607)

c. Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2012 (H.R. 3862)

d. Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2011 (H.R. 373)

e. Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act (RAPID Act) of 2012 (H.R. 4377)

f. SEC Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 2308)

g. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and cost-benefit analysis legislation (H.R. 1840)