Dear Speaker Ryan:
The undersigned groups urge you to make consideration of the “Regulatory Accountability Act” an early priority for the 115th Congress. We believe that federal regulations should be narrowly tailored, supported by strong and credible data and evidence, and impose the least burden possible, while still implementing congressional intent. These are the very same principles embodied in your June 2016 report, A Better Way: A Vision for A Confident America.
When agencies produce regulations that diverge from these key principles, there must be a way of holding agencies accountable. Your report points to the Regulatory Accountability Act as an effective tool to achieve this goal. Specifically, the Act would make the regulatory process more accountable to Congress and the American public by:
- Increasing public participation in shaping the most costly regulations at an earlier point in the rulemaking process;
- Instructing agencies to choose the least costly option that achieves congressional intent unless they can show a costlier option is needed to protect health, safety, or welfare;
- Requiring on-the-record administrative hearings for the most costly regulations to insure that agency data is sound and that agencies are not relying on self-serving assumptions;
- Restricting agencies’ use of interim final regulations; and
- Providing for a more rigorous test in legal challenges for those regulations that would have the most impact.
The Regulatory Accountability Act builds on established principles of fair regulatory process and review that have been embodied in bipartisan executive orders dating to at least the Clinton administration. The Act would make the regulatory process more transparent, agencies more accountable for their decisions, and regulations better-tailored to achieve their purpose without unnecessary burdens on stakeholders.
The Regulatory Accountability Act would allow Congress and the public to reassert control over a federal regulatory bureaucracy that is opaque, unaccountable, and often unfair. Therefore, the undersigned groups strongly support the Act, and urge that this legislation be given high priority as the House begins the new legislative session. We look forward to working with you to enact this important legislation.
(See attached letter for full list of sign-ons)