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U.S. Chamber Testimony Outlines How to Fix the Regulatory Process and Create Jobs

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 8:00pm

Unprecedented Increase in Regulations are
‘Harming the Economy and Inhibiting Job Creation,’ Kovacs Says

WASHINGTON D.C.—In testimony before Congress today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave an overview of the growing regulatory problem, and outlined a series of legislative solutions that would bring balance and accountability back to the regulatory process.

“While regulations are a necessary part of a complex society, an unbalanced regulatory process has led to an unprecedented increase in major, economically significant regulations, some of which are harming the economy and inhibiting job creation, and to erosion of the carefully calibrated constitutional system of checks and balances that is the foundation for our system of government,” said William Kovacs, senior vice president of Environment, Technology, and Regulatory Affairs during his testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

As part of his testimony, Kovacs outlined a series of legislative solutions that can address existing regulatory problems:

  • Permit Streamlining: Congress should take steps to streamline the siting and permitting process for new energy projects. Potential solutions include: requiring completion of environmental reviews within a defined time period; designating a lead agency when multiple agencies are involved; providing early opportunities for public engagement, while reducing comment periods; all reviews must be completed “on an expeditious basis”; avoid duplicating state work; reducing the statue of limitations for legal challenges; and creating an Office of Permit Efficiency.
     
  • Enforce Existing Mandates: Congress should demand that agencies fully comply with existing statutory mandates that impact job creation including: laws that require agencies to consider jobs and economic impact; laws that require agencies to undertake a qualitative and quantitative assessment of federal mandates; and laws that are designed to impose greater transparency and quality of agency information.
     
  • Strengthen Existing Statues: Congress must put teeth in regulatory statutes that circumscribe agency discretion so that safeguards can be enforced by citizens adversely impacted by agency actions. This includes allowing private parties to seek judicial review so that the public can ensure agency compliance with congressional mandates, ensuring indirect impacts are accounted for when rulemaking; and requiring cost-benefit estimates and science reviews are done by an independent third party.
     
  • Reform the APA: Congress should place on agencies a responsibility that is commensurate with the costs the agency is imposing on the regulatory community, jobs, and the nation’s competitiveness. Solutions include: passing the REINS Act and requiring a higher standard of judicial review for economically significant or super rules.

“These solutions are efforts that the Chamber supports in order to reform the regulatory process to make it more effective and accountable to Congress and the American people and to restore balance between regulation and job creation,” said Kovacs. “It’s time for Congress to rein in the Executive Branch agencies to restore proper checks and balances.”

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.