Regulatory reform bills ready to move

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee was set to approve two regulatory reform bills Thursday after rejecting Democrats' attempts to water down the more controversial of the measures.

The two bills, the Regulatory Right-to-Know Act and the Regulatory Improvement Act, have been pushed by Governmental Affairs Chairman Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., for more than a year. The bills essentially would compel government agencies to consider more carefully the private sector costs of regulations.

The committee is expected to pass the Right-to-Know Act without much opposition, since a similar requirement has been included for the last two years in annual spending bills.

The bill would make permanent the requirement that the Office of Management and Budget publish the annual costs on businesses of all agency regulations. The bill, cosponsored by Governmental Affairs ranking member Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., is expected to win broad Democrat support.

But Lieberman will lead the Democrats in opposing the Regulatory Improvement Act, which would require government agencies to conduct cost-benefit analyses and risk assessments on regulations that cost more than $100 million.

Democrats plan to offer as many as 10 amendments in an effort to soften the bill.

Lieberman, who is expected to offer six amendments, and Democratic Sens. Robert Torricelli of New Jersey, Max Cleland of Georgia, and Richard Durbin of Illinois argue that the bill imposes too many time-consuming requirements on the agencies and would block many environment, health and labor protections.

Most of the amendments seek exemptions to the requirement for regulations that address health, environment and labor concerns.

Sources expect the committee to accept a few of the amendments in order to assuage Democrats, as they did in a previous markup on the bill, but will approve the bill largely in its current form.

Thompson and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the bill's chief cosponsor, have won endorsement of more than a half-dozen Democrats, including Minority Leader Daschle, but most Democratic cosponsors do not sit on the committee.

Congressional sources said the bill faces an uncertain future because Majority Leader Lott does not want to bring the bill to the floor if it is controversial, and the administration could reverse its tepid support if it is opposed by too many committee Democrats.

The House has not proposed a complementary version this year, but has handily passed similar bills in prior sessions. Sources say Commerce Chairman Bliley or House Government Reform National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman David McIntosh, R-Ind., could introduce the House version if the Senate passes a bill.

Meanwhile, the House Government Reform Committee approved its version of the Regulatory Right-to-Know Act after McIntosh, the bill's primary cosponsor, proposed an amendment to mollify some of the concerns raised in a subcommittee markup by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.