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 McConnellBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session Senate holds sleepy Saturday session as negotiators finalize infrastructure deal An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done 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 PortmanBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet On The Money: Justice Department says Trump's tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris MORE (R-Ohio) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampJoe Manchin's secret Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda Effective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests 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.