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Regulatory Reform

The Chamber recognizes the need for smart regulations to ensure workplace safety and protect public health. But with a $2 trillion price tag in compliance costs and an increasing number of huge and complex rules, it’s clear the regulatory system isn’t working the way it should. Americans deserve a working regulatory system that is fair for everyone, takes into account the views of communities and businesses, evaluates the impact rules will have on jobs and small businesses, and protects our economic and personal freedoms.

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Our Position

More than 1/3

The Government Accountability Office found that about 35% of major regulations are issued without a public comment period.
SOURCE: GAO

The Chamber is building support for commonsense regulatory reform based on three bipartisan principles.

  1. Accountability. Federal agencies need to show that the costliest rules are truly needed and are written to use the least costly option available to achieve their objective.
  2. Transparency. Agencies must be open about why and how they make key decisions to regulate, and avoid making those decisions in secret under pressure from special interest groups, entirely outside of the normal rulemaking process.
  3. Participation. Agencies should be required to inform the public of pending regulatory decisions on high-impact rules early in the process, share their data and economic models, and allow those who will be affected adequate time for public input.

 

With these principles in mind, the Chamber is advancing two bipartisan bills to reform and modernize the regulatory system:

Costly Rules

Total compliance costs for federal regulations are $2 trillion annually.
 
  • The Regulatory Accountability Act, already passed by the House, would modernize the regulatory process by increasing transparency during the rule development process, allowing interested parties to meaningfully participate in the process, and making agencies consider alternatives that achieve their objective at a lower cost.
  • The Sunshine Act, also passed in the House, would bring greater transparency and accountability to the sue and settle process, by requiring federal agencies to inform the public  when they settle lawsuits brought by special interest groups and agree to issue new regulations on accelerated timeframes.  Affected parties would have more opportunity to participate in these agreements.

 

Reforming our government’s regulatory system should unite Americans and their competing interests not divide them. The U.S. Chamber calls on the Senate to take up and pass both of these regulatory reform bills.

 

Read more from the U.S. Chamber blog: 4 Steps to a Working Regulatory System

Our ideas on #RegReform are hardly unique--read what other publishers are saying about this issue:

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What’s the Problem?

The power of federal agencies to create sweeping new regulatory programs, as well as the cost of regulations themselves, has increased dramatically since the enactment of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946.  In recent years, there has been an unprecedented increase in multi-billion dollar, highly-complex rules issued by federal agencies. These rules have profound impacts on major sectors of the economy such as energy, banking, agriculture, and the Internet. Modernizing the APA, whose rulemaking provisions have remained virtually unchanged, is long overdue.

What’s the Solution?

The Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) would update the 70-year old federal rulemaking process, improving transparency and accountability in the federal rulemaking process and ensuring that the most costly and high-impact rules are well-designed and tailored to accomplish their objectives without causing unnecessary damage to our nation's economy. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Allow for earlier public participation in shaping the most costly regulations
  • Require agencies to choose the lowest cost option that achieves the goal or demonstrate that a more costly option is necessary to protect public health, safety, or welfare
  • Allow for on-the-record administrative hearings for high-impact regulations so that interested parties can challenge agency assumptions and the reliance on poor quality data
  • Place restrictions on agencies’ use of interim final regulations

 

What Can You Do?


 

Timeline

The latest updates across all U.S. Chamber properties

E.g., 09/25/2016
E.g., 09/25/2016
Letter

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

The undersigned groups strongly urge you to pass H.R. 3438, the “Require Evaluation before Implementing Executive Wishlists (REVIEW) Act of 2016.” This legislation would address the increasingly common situation where businesses, non-profits, and local governments are forced to commit their resources to comply with a massive new regulation, only to have the regulation subsequently thrown out by a court, leaving them with a useless expense.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 4:45pm
Letter

This coalition letter regarding the hearing entitled, "Modernizing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act," has been sent to Chairman Upton.

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 5:00pm
Above the Fold
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler sitting before a Congressional hearing.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportational Committee heard from all five FCC Commissioners.

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 9:00am
In the News

Washington Examiner
By Joseph Lawler 

None of President Obama's seven years in office has seen economic growth above 3 percent, and his final year will probably fall short, too.

Lame growth will be Obama's clearest and most damaging legacy, as far as business is concerned.

Report

What is Sue and Settle?

"Sue and Settle" refers to when a federal agency agrees to a settlement agreement, in a lawsuit from special interest groups, to create priorities and rules outside of the normal rulemaking process.  The agency intentionally relinquishes statutory discretion by committing to timelines and priorities that often realign agency duties.  These settlement agreements are negotiated behind closed doors with no participation from the public or affected parties.

Friday, September 2, 2016 - 3:30pm