Bill sets expiration date for federal rules

Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkGiffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Stale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Immigration critics find their champion in Trump MORE (R-Ill.) has introduced legislation that would force federal agencies to review and fix outdated rules.

The Small Business Regulatory Sunset Act, unveiled Tuesday, imposes a seven-year expiration date or "sunset" on final rules once they are published. If the rule is not renewed by an agency within seven years, it expires.

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The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) was introduced in the last Congress but failed to make it out of committee.

"New innovations, like those coming out of the University of Illinois and our tech start-ups, risk never seeing market if old regulations and rules aren't cleared out and replaced by the agencies that are supposed to be in place to help businesses thrive," Kirk said in a statement Tuesday. "Compliance with federal regulations cost $112 billion in 2013, and the burden this is placing on businesses is costing small business owners precious time and money." 

Market research and advocacy groups including the R Street Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Citizens Against Government Waste released an open letter Tuesday that called on senators to pass the bill.

“Despite being authorized to review and update rules affecting small business, most agencies fail to complete this review in an acceptable manner,” the letter said. “This ensures the ever-growing list of rules continues to multiply, disproportionately weighing down small entities with fewer available resources.” 

Quoting figures from the National Association of Manufacturers, the groups said regulatory compliance for small businesses cost an average of $11,724 per employee in 2012 and $34,67 for small manufacturers. Since 1993, more than 87,000 rules have been issued.

“If the cost of complying with U.S. regulations were an economy unto itself, it would be the 10th largest in the world, coming in at $1.863 trillion,” the letter said citing an analysis from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.