The House on Tuesday passed legislation to require federal agencies to estimate the economic costs of regulations, as Republicans look to tamp down on the Obama administration's rule-making agenda.
Passage fell largely along party lines, by a vote of 250-175.
Agencies would have to submit an advance notice of proposed rule-making 90 days before announcing any major rule. However, the measure would allow more expensive rules if their benefits to protect public health or safety are sufficiently justified.
The bill would further allow regulations to be challenged in court before they are finalized.
Republicans said the changes would help create regulations with more public input.
"In a nutshell, this bill says to every agency — fulfill the statutory goals the United States Congress has set for you," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteSchumer: GOP 'filling the swamp' by targeting ethics chief Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes Republicans vote to weaken federal regulatory powers MORE (R-Va.), the bill's sponsor. "But as you achieve those goals, make sure you do it with better public input, better-tested information, and in the least costly way."
But Democrats argued the bill would undermine the regulatory process and hinder attempts to help the public.
"It invites increased industry intervention and imposes more than 60, 6-0, new analytical requirements that could add years to the regulatory process. And they make no bones about it in this bill," said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
But the legislation attracted some support from centrists like Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who co-sponsored it.
"Our farmers, ranchers, business are all feeling the burden of increased regulation, and we need to act to ensure that they're not regulated out of business," Peterson said.
The White House issued a veto threat against the bill, saying it would "impede the ability of agencies to provide the public with basic protections" as well as "create needless confusion and delay" for businesses and all levels of government.
Before final passage, the House adopted, 254-168, an amendment from Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) that would require agencies to review the potential effects of new rules on low-income populations.
The House rejected three Democratic amendments, including proposals from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) to exempt the Department of Homeland Security from the bill's provisions and from Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) to shield any rule or guidance regarding health or public safety. Republicans defeated both amendments by votes of 176-249 and 178-248, respectively.
- Tim Devaney contributed.