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 McConnellRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence Democrats block two Senate abortion bills VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (D-N.Y.) calling for legislation that requires all federal agencies to conduct rigorous cost-benefit analyses and retrospective reviews of regulations.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 PortmanWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (R-Ohio) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA 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.