September 10, 2012
Washington, D.C. – The Wall Street Journal highlighted bipartisan legislation from Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) to require independent agencies to analyze the costs and benefits of new regulations and tailor new rules to minimize unnecessary burdens on the economy, bringing independent agencies into the same analysis and review process that governs other regulators.
Excerpts from the article included below. Actual article can be found here.
The Wall Street Journal
Bill Aims at Rules' Costs, Benefits
By Scott Patterson
September 7, 2012
What if all proposed federal regulations came with a report card?
The idea, included in a bill gathering support in Congress, is one of the many ways federal regulators are under pressure to more explicitly account for the cost of the rules they write.
Republicans in Congress, plus an increasing number of Democrats, want regulators to better weigh how shifts in regulations affect the industries concerned against the potential broader economic or social benefits.
Giving impetus to their efforts are recent court decisions that have scotched rules for not having given enough consideration to these questions.
The focus is on a basic economic tool known as cost-benefit analysis. It lies at the heart of a bill proposed in August that aspires to make such analysis a central part of the government's regulatory process.
Republicans say that would encourage planners to carefully craft rules to minimize the impact on industries and the economy. Many Democrats say overemphasizing cost-benefit analysis plays into the hands of industries while overlooking hard-to-measure benefits. They say the bill is designed to gum up the regulatory process, rather than improve it.
Yet sluggish economic growth and high employment have won over some on that side of the aisle. Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) is co-sponsoring the bill, which is called the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2012.
Most agencies already conduct such analysis before imposing a new rule. The bill would require an independent—and public—analysis by the executive branch, which would cover all agencies, including independent bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Environmental Protection Agency. Only those tied to the executive branch now fall under the White House's purview.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), would mandate studies of rules with an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. "It is important to strike the right balance between protecting important public safeguards and the costs regulations impose." Mr. Warner said.
Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where the bill was submitted, remains undecided on whether to back it, according to congressional aides. The legislation could come up for consideration in the committee later this month, aides said.