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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in recent years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has sought to unscramble the federal regulatory process and identify the parts of the process that work and those that are broken. Our goal is to understand the impacts those broken parts have on employment and the economy.

With that goal in mind, we conducted a series of reserach projects to examine specific elements of the regulatory process. The results were remarkable. Although the federal regulatory process produces thousands of new regulations each year, only a tiny percentage of these regulations have a truly significant impact. Yet, federal agencies issue these complex and costly regulations with the same ease as the most insignificant. From the agency perspective, one process fits all—despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. 

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.

To learn more about the regulatory process and why reform is needed now more than ever, check out these reports on America's regulatory process.


The Growing Burden of Unfunded EPA Mandates on the States
August 2016

Regulatory Indifference Hurts Vulnerable Communities
February 2016

Truth in Regulating: Restoring Transparency to EPA Rulemaking
April 2015

Charting Federal Costs and Benefits
August 2014

Regulatory Reform: Improving Our Rulemaking Process
December 2013

Sue and Settle: Regulating Behind Close Doors
May 2013

Impacts of Regulations on Employment
Examining EPA’s Oft-Repeated Claims that Regulations Create Jobs
February 2013

EPA’s New Regulatory Front
Regional Haze and the Takeover of State Programs
July 2012

Project No Project
A Study on the Potential Economic Impact of Permitting Challenges Facing Proposed Energy Projects
March 2011

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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?



The latest updates across all U.S. Chamber properties

E.g., 10/26/2016
E.g., 10/26/2016
Above the Fold
Illustration of data and privacy.

If the FCC gets its broadband privacy rule wrong, ISPs, consumers, and edge providers could all suffer negative consequences.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 10:00am
Above the Fold
The Animas River between Silverton and Durango, Colo. within 24 hours of the 2015 Gold King Mine waste water spill.

If a business would have accidentally polluted a river, the agency would've thrown the book at it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 1:15pm

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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 3:30pm
Above the Fold
One year after its opening, federal and local regulations have forced Cantina 1910 out of business

Last September, Chicago entrepreneurs Mark Robertson and Mike Sullivan opened the doors to Cantina 1910 in the city’s Andersonville neighborhood, culminating two years of planning, recruiting and extensive construction.

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 10:30am

This Key Vote Alert! supporting H.R. 6094, the “Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act,” was sent to all Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 12:45pm


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

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