Republicans in the U.S. Senate have drafted legislation seeking to codify and build upon an executive order issued by President Obama last year on regulatory reform.
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts' office stated the senator today "introduced sweeping legislation to continue his fight against regulations issued by the Obama Administration that hurt the nation’s struggling economy."
Roberts’ bill, S. 191, the Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act, would put the power of law behind the president’s widely touted, but largely ignored, executive order directing federal agencies to review their regulations ensuring they cause no harm to the economy or job creation.
“Two years ago, I applauded the President for recognizing that the volumes of regulations released by his administration were hurting job creation, stifling growth, and generally making life more difficult on hard working Americans. However, since that day, this promising executive order has received little more than lip service from this administration,” Roberts said. “Loopholes have been exploited across the Federal Government and Americans continue to struggle under the regulator’s boot. So let’s make it law. Let’s really look at the size and scope of our government and return it to its role as a partner in America’s success rather than an impediment to it.”
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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce commended Roberts' legislation, saying, “This legislation would take important steps toward restraining excessive agency power and promote sound regulatory policy.”
The Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act strengthens and codifies the President’s Executive Order from January 18, 2011, ensuring that regulations put forth by Executive Branch consider the economic burden on American businesses, ensure stakeholder input and promote innovation. The Administration would be required by law to review, modify, streamline, expand, or repeal any significant regulatory actions that are duplicative, unnecessary, burdensome, or would have significant economic impacts on Americans.
The bill also closes the loopholes that the Administration has been using to bypass stakeholder input on regulations, and allows for judicial review if the Administration fails to meet this self-imposed standard.
For example, the Department of Health and Human Services issued proposed rules regarding the insurance exchanges in the new health care law. These significant rules were only allotted a 30 day comment period during the holidays, announced November 20, 2012.Senator Roberts is particularly concerned with the overly aggressive regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is attempting to expand the definition of navigable waterways to include farm ponds, currently requires pesticide applicators to get two permits for the use of pesticides and, finally, has issued strict new emissions standards for coal and oil fired electric utilities costing billions annually.
The Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act has received letters of support from the Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association and the American Association of School Administrators.
The bill has 32 original cosponsors including Senators Portman, Coats, Ayotte, Grassley, Paul, Johanns, R. Johnson, L. Graham, Sessions, Crapo, Wicker, Moran, Chambliss, Isakson, Burr, Toomey, Inhofe, Risch, McCain, McConnell, Hoeven, Cochran, Alexander, Boozman, Fischer, Enzi, Thune, Hatch, Barrasso, Blunt, Rubio and Corker.
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