Regulatory experts push Senate leaders for regulatory reform

Regulatory experts push Senate leaders for regulatory reform
© Greg Nash

Regulatory experts are pushing Senate leadership to reform the rulemaking process.

Former administrators for the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, including Susan Dudley, John Graham and Howard Shelanski, joined professors and research fellows in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill This week: Senate wrapping up defense bill after amendment fight Cuomo warns Dems against cutting DACA deal with Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) calling for legislation that requires all federal agencies to conduct rigorous cost-benefit analyses and retrospective reviews of regulations.

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“While the evidence on how regulations and the economy interact is mixed, we all agree that major rules that have become obsolete or costlier than expected, over time can reduce productivity, increase costs, and lower economic output; in economic terms, this means increased deadweight loss that prevents the U.S. economy from achieving its potential,” the groups wrote in the Thursday letter. 

“Research also shows that regulatory uncertainty can have a chilling effect on investment and growth.”

While the letter doesn't support and specific piece of legislation, Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWeek ahead in tech: Debate over online sex trafficking bill heats up 'Hillbilly Elegy' author won't run for Senate Brown, Portman urge Trump administration to move quickly on a steel decision MORE (R-Ohio) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampJustice Dept investigating Equifax stock sales: report Dem senator: Trump 'very serious' about infrastructure Trump steps up courtship of Dems MORE (D-N.D.) introduced a bill earlier this year to reform the regulatory system.

That measure would enact the experts’ suggested changes and goes a step further, forcing federal agencies to chose the “most cost-effective” ways to regulate.

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee passed the Regulatory Accountability Act in May as part of a package of reform proposals.

Pro-regulatory groups, however, have criticized the Portman-Heitkamp legislation, saying that requiring agencies to adopt the "least-costly" regulation is a giveaway to big business. 

The experts admit the proposals aren't perfect. 

“While some among us think the pending proposals still need additional refinement, we all agree that work should be completed by Congress through a bipartisan process as soon as possible,” the group wrote.