Reps. Peterson, Smith, and Sens. Portman, Pryor Introduce Bill to Reduce Red Tape

Sep 22, 2011 Issues: Economy and Jobs


WASHINGTON – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), and U.S. Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN), and U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Pryor (D-AR), today unveiled their plan to significantly reform the federal regulatory process and reduce unnecessary burdens on employers. The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 reforms the current rulemaking process to lower the costs and improve the quality of new regulations.

This bipartisan, bicameral effort is the first of its kind in more than a decade to reform and minimize regulations that stifle economic growth.

“While it is difficult to enact a new law, it’s even harder to get a regulation written correctly,” said Peterson. “In many cases, interest groups try to use regulation to interpret the law in their best interest, instead of following the intent of the law. By bringing transparency and accountability to the regulatory process, the American people will be allowed to have a voice in these policy decisions.”

“The current regulatory system has become a barrier to economic growth and job creation,” said Chairman Smith. “Federal regulations cost our economy $1.75 trillion each year. Employers are rightly concerned about the costs these regulations will impose on their businesses. So they stop hiring, stop spending and start saving for a bill from Big Brother.  But rather than burdening businesses with more regulations, we need to free up employers so they can create jobs for American workers. The Regulatory Accountability Act does just that. It places permanent restrictions on regulatory agencies and restores accountability by requiring openness and transparency in the regulatory process. This is a bipartisan, bicameral bill that both parties, both houses of Congress and the President should support.”

“One of the most frequent concerns I hear from employers throughout Ohio is that mounting regulatory burdens increase the costs of doing business, making it harder to create jobs,” said Portman. “This common-sense, bipartisan legislation will cut back on unnecessary red tape by building economic reality-checks into every step of the regulatory process. It’s an immediate step Washington can take to help unleash the forces of job creation again in America.”  

“We need a 21st Century regulatory system that promotes growth, innovation and job creation. By ensuring all parties have a seat at the table at the beginning of the process, this legislation prevents overly burdensome and drawn-out regulations from interfering with our nation’s prosperity,” Pryor said.

For decades, presidents of both parties have issued executive orders to produce more sensible, less burdensome regulations.  This bill makes the principles of those bipartisan directives permanent, enforceable, and applicable to all regulatory agencies, including independent agencies. The Act also requires agencies to tailor new regulations to impose the least cost necessary to achieve policy goals set out by Congress. Finally, the bill requires agencies to hold formal hearings to test the assumptions and evidence on which the costliest new rules are based.