House Passes Portman's Regulatory Reform Bill to Promote Job Creation, Reduce Costly Red Tape

January 11, 2017 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today welcomed the U.S. House of Representative’s passage of the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 5), which is the House companion to his Senate measure designed to create a better environment for job creation by reforming the federal regulatory process and reducing unnecessary red tape on job creators. The bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 238-183.  Senator Portman plans to introduce the Senate version of the Regulatory Accountability Act in the coming weeks. He has been the lead author of this regulatory reform effort in previous Congresses.

“The House’s passage of the Regulatory Accountability Act is a big step toward restoring balance to a regulatory system that too often imposes unnecessary costs on employers, workers, and consumers.  When I visit a factory or small business in Ohio, one of the complaints I hear most often from employers is that there are too many costly and unnecessary regulations that limit their ability to create jobs and invest in making a better product.  We need a smarter regulatory process that promotes economic growth, innovation, and job creation. Through stronger cost-benefit analysis and greater transparency, this common-sense measure will build a less costly, more stable regulatory environment that will help spur job creation and investment in America.”

The Regulatory Accountability Act would reform the federal regulatory process by requiring cost-benefit analysis across all agencies, improving transparency in the rulemaking process, and providing a more rigorous examination of facts underlying the most expensive rules. 

  • Requiring Effective Cost-Benefit Analysis.  The bill would codify the duty to analyze the costs and benefits of new regulations. It would also require agencies to adopt the least costly or most cost-effective approach to achieve their objectives.  To hold agencies accountable, the bill would permit a judicial check on an agency’s cost-benefits analysis of major rules — the 40 to 80 costliest regulations out of the more than 3,000 issued each year.  This review would be deferential, but the courts would ensure that agencies do not rely on irrational assumptions or treat cost-benefit analysis as a mere afterthought — as too often occurs today.
  • Improving Transparency in the Federal Regulatory Process.  The bill would invite early public participation on major rules and require agencies to disclose the data they rely upon, ensuring that there is greater transparency in the rulemaking process.  It also would ensure that agencies use sound scientific and technical data to justify new rules, in keeping with the president’s directive that agencies should use the “best available science” to craft regulations.
  • Imposing a Higher Bar for the Most Costly Regulations. The measure would require agencies to follow a more evidence-based approach in crafting rules that will cost more than $1 billion annually.  This legislation would give stakeholders access to an agency hearing to test the key disputed facts underlying these mega-rules.  While it would require additional work on the front end, the result would be lower costs and more stable regulatory outcomes.