Senators Renew Bipartisan Regulatory Reform Bid

 “We’ve made great strides when it comes to our economy, but we can do more to encourage small and large companies alike to grow and thrive," Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said. “We’ve made great strides when it comes to our economy, but we can do more to encourage small and large companies alike to grow and thrive," Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said. Alex Brandon/AP file photo

Senators seeking to “reduce red tape on job creators” reintroduced long-sought legislation to revamp the agency rulemaking and institutionalize the weighing of costs and benefits in the process.

Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., joined with a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce the 2013 Regulatory Accountability Act aimed at increasing transparency for public and business participation, requiring agencies to rely more on evidence in weighing proposed rules and requiring regulators to choose the lowest-cost approach. It would modernize the Administrative Procedure Act affecting 3,000 regulations issued annually, the sponsors said.

“Smart regulation requires a balanced approach, and many Ohio businesses tell me they have been held back by the burden and uncertainty of increasing red tape,” Portman said. “Through stronger cost-benefit analysis and greater transparency, this commonsense legislation will build a less costly, more stable regulatory environment for job creation and growth.”

Pryor added: “We’ve made great strides when it comes to our economy, but we can do more to encourage small and large companies alike to grow and thrive -- and that starts with streamlining our regulatory system. By building a decision-making process based on results and costs, our bill fights overreaching regulations to give businesses the certainty, confidence, and flexibility they need to invest and expand.”

A similar bill has been introduced in the House. The approach, however, is not without controversy. Previous versions of the bill were attacked by liberal-leaning nonprofits such as the Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch) and Public Citizen. They see it as freezing agencies’ ability to issue health and safety standards and giving corporations too much influence on proposed rules. They also warn that it would result in excessive litigation to “second-guess” agency expertise.

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