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 McConnellMcConnell sees Ohio in play as confidence about midterms grows   Giuliani: White House wants briefing on classified meeting over Russia probe GOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer'Right to try' is a win for patient rights and President Trump Overnight Finance: White House planning new tax cut proposal this summer | Schumer wants Congress to block reported ZTE deal | Tech scrambles to comply with new data rules OPEC and Russia may raise oil output under pressure from 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 PortmanLongtime tax aide leaving Senate Finance Committee Ex-McConnell policy aide joining lobby firm WATCH: Sen. Flake: “More doubtful” North Korean summit will happen  MORE (R-Ohio) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback Trump doesn't invite key Dems to signing ceremony on their bill 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.