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 McConnellDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Trump should beware the 'clawback' Congress Juan Williams: America needs radical solutions MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration 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 PortmanGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats Steel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs Trade official warns senators of obstacles to quick China deal MORE (R-Ohio) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction 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.