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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, an increasing number of huge and complex rules, and a permitting process that makes it virtually impossible to build anything, 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.

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

  1. Accountability. Congress should insist on an up-or-down vote on the largest and most costly regulations and more carefully craft legislation so that the purpose of the new rules are perfectly clear and regulators' discretion in writing rules is limited.
  2. Transparency. Nothing would ensure greater transparency than eliminating sue and settle agreements, where key decisions about how and when to issue new regulations are made 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 comments.
  4. Safe But Swift. Today, major energy, infrastructure, and necessary community improvement projects cannot be built or even granted a permit because of a broken environmental review process. With commonsense reforms, we don't need to choose between speed and safety. We can have both and we need both.


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

Costly Rules

Total compliance costs for federal regulations are $2 trillion annually.
  • Permit streamlining legislation, which would create a more coordinated and efficient permitting process for federal regulatory reviews, environmental decision making, and permitting--without changing existing standards or environmental safeguards.
  • The Regulatory Accountability Act, which would reform the regulatory process by increasing transparency during rule development, allowing interested parties access to the data, and making agencies consider alternatives that achieve their objective at a lower cost.
  • The Sunshine Act, which would bring transparency and accountability to the sue and settle process, by allowing federal agencies to bring secret lawsuits filed by special interest groups out from behind closed doors.

Reforming our government's regulatory system and permitting process are issues that should unite Americans and their competing interests, not divide them.

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

Take Action


  • Let's get our rules right. Send a letter to Congress to support the Regulatory Accountability Act. If passed, this bill will improve our nation's rulemaking process, creating more transparency and public participation, and holding agencies accountable for the nature and quality of their data.
  •  Share our slideshare presentation on the 5 Steps to Get Our Rules Right.  Click here to retweet the presentation.



Backdoor and Backroom Regulation, Heather Peirce, The Hill

EPA's Wood-Burning Stove Ban Has Chilling Consequences For Many Rural People, Larry Bell, Forbes

Over-regulated America, The Economist

Pay Up: Federal Regulations Cost U.S. Economy More Than $2 Trillion Annually, National Association of Manufacturers

The Best and Worst of Regulation in 2014, Sam Batkins, American Action Forum

The Cure For Regulation Destabilization, Clyde Wayne Crews, Forbes

The REINS Act: Increasing The Accountability Of Our Elected Officials, Capital Flows, Forbes

The Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act of 2014, Congressional testimony by Patrick McLaughlin, George Mason University

The Unintended Consequences of Federal Regulatory Accumulation, Mercatus Center, George Washington University


The latest updates across all U.S. Chamber properties

E.g., 04/25/2015
E.g., 04/25/2015

The Chamber and the Institute for Legal Reform submitted a joint letter to the FCC supporting the petition filed by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the American Gas Association (AGA) regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

2 days 6 hours ago

This letter supporting H.R. 1259 (the "Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act"), H.R. 1265 (the "Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act"), and H.R. 601(the "Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act") was sent to all Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

1 week 5 days ago

Written Testimony of U.S. Chamber of Commerce before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Hearing on Fiscal Year 2016 Appropriations, April 3, 2015.

3 weeks 1 day ago
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.--A report released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today reveals that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has obscured critical details about the specific pollutants that certain rules would control, and how much it actually costs.

3 weeks 2 days ago
Truth in Regulating cover

The Chamber's most recent study "Truth in Regulating" examines the economic justification the Environmental Protection Agency uses when it issues rules that cost $1 billion or more annually. The research reveals that in recent years EPA has obscured critical details about the specific pollutants a given rule would control, and how much it would actually cost to achieve that control. Regulatory "consumers" are prevented from seeing vital information about the product being "purchased."

3 weeks 2 days ago