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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

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

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The latest updates across all U.S. Chamber properties

E.g., 06/29/2015
E.g., 06/29/2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.--U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Environment, Technology, & Regulatory Affairs William Kovacs issued the following statement today on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) final Clean Water Rule, which was originally referred to as  "Waters of the United States":

1 day 15 hours ago

This letter commending the introduction of S. 1425, the "Promoting New Manufacturing Act," was sent to Sen. Capito and the Members of the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

2 days 15 hours ago

This letter was sent to Rep. Scalise and the other members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee applauding the introduction of the "Promoting New Manufacturing Act of 2015," which would help improve transparency and the accountability of the EPA in the permitting process for the construction and modification of industrial projects.

1 week 16 hours ago

In typical Washington style, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release its final rule on Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) definition on the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend.

1 week 18 hours ago

This letter supporting 13 bills that would promote small business capital formation and that are expected to be marked up tomorrow was sent to all Members of the House Financial Services Committee.

1 week 2 days ago
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.--U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for the Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs William Kovacs issued the following statement regarding the bipartisan passage of H.R. 1731, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act:

2 weeks 1 day ago

This multi-industry letter addressed to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs strongly supports S. 280, the "Federal Permitting Improvement Act of 2015," a critical piece of legislation that would provide a streamlined process for developers to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects in a timely and efficient manner. This bill would address the problem far too many projects face today: lengthy project delays from endless environmental reviews and challenges resulting in lost opportunities to create jobs and grow the economy.

3 weeks 3 days ago