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.
The Chamber recently conducted a series of research projects to unscramble the federal regulatory process. By examining specific elements of the rulemaking process, it became apparent where the system was breaking down and where reform was needed most.
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. Regulations are not a one size fits all and must take into account the views of communities and businesses, evaluate the impact on jobs and the economy, and protect our economic and personal freedoms.
The process must be reformed so that the country can get back to work without the undue, unchecked burden of overregulation. Therefore, the Chamber is building support for commonsense reform based on three bipartisan principles.
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.
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.
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, check out these reports. Each reports examines a different aspect of the regulatory process, including the permitting process for infrastructure projects, federal efforts to take control of state environmental programs, the impact of regulations on employment, the use of “sue and settle”, the costs and benefits analysis of new rules, whether agencies are honest in telling the public what they are regulating, and how regulations can impact vulnerable communities.
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
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports H.R. 469 and S. 119, the “Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act” and thanks you for introducing this important legislation. The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act would help address the abusive “sue and settle” process that allows special interest groups to use lawsuit settlements to take effective control of an agency’s agenda and regulatory priorities.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement today praising House passage of H.R. 5, which includes the Regulatory Accountability Act:
Business Community Optimistic, Realistic, and Ready for Meaningful Reform to Reignite Spirit of American Enterprise
WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said today in his annual “State of American Business” address that fostering stronger, faster, and more broadly shared economic growth must be the top priority for the nation’s leaders.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue delivered his annual State of American Business address to outline the top challenges facing the business community and the Chamber’s policy priorities for 2017.
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports H.R. 78, the “SEC Regulatory Accountability Act,” and H.R. 79, the “Helping Angels Lead Our Startups Act.” Taken together, these bills would hold the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its rulemaking process more accountable to the American public, and allow angel investors to continue to play an important role in the economy.
"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.
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