Portman, King, and Collins Renew Push to Reduce Red Tape on Job Creators

August 6, 2015 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Angus King (I-Maine), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today renewed their push to significantly reform the federal regulatory process and reduce unnecessary burdens on job creators. The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 reforms the current rulemaking process to lower the costs and improve the quality of new regulations. 

“Smart regulation requires a balanced approach, and many Ohio businesses tell me they have been held back by the burden and uncertainty of government red tape,” Portman said.  “Through stronger cost-benefit analysis and greater transparency, this commonsense legislation will build a less costly, more stable regulatory environment for job creation and economic growth.”

“Too often, I hear from businesses in Maine that are struggling under the weight of excessive regulations,” King said. “This common sense piece of legislation will provide better checks on the regulatory process and ensure that the government is enacting sensible, scale-appropriate regulations that don’t stifle innovation or impose unwieldy burdens on the businesses that drive our economy.”

“When I meet with businesses across Maine, a chief complaint is that regulations and red tape are preventing growth and the creation of new, good-paying American jobs. This bipartisan legislation strikes an important balance and implements important reforms to our outdated regulatory system,” said Collins. “This legislation will compel our federal agencies to cut the unnecessary red tape that so often impedes the job growth we need, while preserving effective regulations that protect our consumers and businesses in Maine and across our country. 

The United States government issues over 3,000 new, costly rules and regulations every year.

The Regulatory Accountability Act seeks to modernize the Administrative Procedure Act by strengthening 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. 

First, 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 over 3,000 issued annually.  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.

Second, the bill opens the regulatory process to greater transparency.  It invites early public participation on major rules and requires agencies to disclose the data they rely upon.  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.

Third, the bill would require agencies to follow a more evidence-based approach in crafting rules that will cost more than $1 billion annually.  These high-impact rules are relatively rare — the White House identified seven in development last year — but the cost of getting them wrong is steep.  That’s why this legislation would give stakeholders access to an agency hearing to test the key disputed facts underlying these mega-rules. It will take some additional work on the front end, but the result will be lower costs and more stable regulatory outcomes 

Text of the Regulatory Accountability Act can be found here.