U.S. Chamber Applauds House Passage of Regulatory Accountability Act

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 7:00pm

'The Principles in this Legislation Make the Regulatory Process More Transparent, Agencies More Accountable, and Regulations More Cost-Effective,' Says Josten

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today applauded the House of Representatives for passing the Regulatory Accountability Act, which would modernize the regulatory process to make it more transparent and accountable.

“After 65-years inaction, we are pleased that the House voted today to improve how federal agencies write the regulations that most significantly affect our economy,” said Bruce Josten, executive vice president for Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber. “The principles in this legislation make the regulatory process more transparent, agencies more accountable, and regulations more cost-effective, and it is our hope that the Senate will soon follow suit.”

The Regulatory Accountability Act modernizes the Administrative Procedures Act, which has been virtually unchanged since 1946 and builds on established principles of fair regulatory process and review embodied in executive orders since the Clinton administration. A recent CBO report on the bill credits the legislation for creating more public participation in the rulemaking process, pointing out that the Regulatory Accountability Act will, “Codify many practices aimed at increasing regulatory transparency and accountability that are currently required under several executive orders.”

“All branches of the government have recognized the need for greater agency accountability and citizen participation in rulemakings,” continued Josten.  “Given our precarious economy, it’s time we ensure our regulations are narrowly tailored, supported by strong and credible data and evidence, and impose the least burden possible, while still implementing Congressional intent.”

The Regulatory Accountability Act would enhance the regulatory process by:

  • Increasing public participation in shaping the most costly regulations before they are proposed;
  • Requiring that agencies must choose the least costly option unless they can demonstrate a need to protect public health, safety, or welfare;
  • Giving interested parties the opportunity to hold agencies accountable for their compliance with the Information Quality Act;
  • Providing for on-the-record administrative hearings for the most costly regulations to insure that agency data is well tested and reviewed;
  • Restricting agencies’ use of interim final regulations where no comments are taken before a regulation takes effect and providing for expedited judicial review of whether that approach is justified; and
  • Providing for a more rigorous test in legal challenges for those regulations that would have the most impact.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.