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November 14, 2017

Bipartisan Calls for Meaningful Regulatory Reform

There is widespread agreement among Republicans and Democrats alike that we need to modernize our outdated, overly complicated regulatory process – and that we must pass legislation to really make a meaningful difference.  We can grow the economy and create jobs by adopting meaningful reforms that ensure rule-making is transparent, based on sound science and done by elected officials who can be held accountable by their voters.

Lawmakers and thought leaders from both sides of the political spectrum have spoken to the need for regulatory reform:

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

We’ve made a lot of progress expanding job opportunities and getting folks back to work, but we shouldn’t let up now.  Infrastructure projects create good-paying jobs, and employers can’t afford lengthy, unnecessary delays because of an uncoordinated bureaucracy. We need a streamlined process that allows businesses and communities working on large projects the freedom and independence to get them off the ground.” (January 28, 2015)

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

“The reality today is that a lot of federal regulations are more extensive in scope, more expensive to these companies and therefore these workers, more unpredictable than they have to be to meet whatever the policy objectives are.” (April 27, 2017)

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)

“As a small businessman for many years, I know that we must remove unnecessary rules and regulations to spur economic growth and a thriving job market. We need government to work smarter, and federal agencies to operate with complete transparency and maximum efficiency.”  (May 24, 2013)

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD)              

“When a regulation is implemented, the agency should be able to justify it publicly so we all have a chance to understand its impact. Sound, reliable science is vital to helping us make important policy decisions that impact the health of American families and their livelihoods.” (September 12, 2017)

Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)

“Across North Dakota, families, business owners, and workers tell me one of their biggest concerns is about the challenges that federal regulations can pose – but they’re also concerned about keeping our families safe and air clean. They shouldn’t have to choose between the two.” (May 17, 2017)

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)                

“All too often, the bureaucrats in Washington are oblivious to the real-world implications of their actions. There is a growing bipartisan consensus that we should be pushing back against these excesses.” (March 8, 2012)

Thought Leaders:

Susan Dudley, Former Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, George W. Bush Administration

“Improving the regulatory system is challenging. While we all know how much we pay in taxes, regulatory costs are less visible; they are hidden in higher product prices, lower wages, innovations not seen, and slower economic growth. It’s impossible to measure these costs with any confidence, but some researchers estimate that Americans pay more in this hidden regulatory tax than they do in income tax. Regulations often benefit vocal special interests under the guise of protecting everyday Americans, making it hard to discuss their impacts rationally.” (July 10, 2017)

Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Barack Obama Administration

“Over the last 30 years, Republican and Democratic presidents have converged on three excellent ideas. The first is that before issuing expensive new regulations, agencies should catalogue their costs and benefits, and should proceed if (and only if) the benefits justify the costs. The second is that before issuing new regulations, agencies should allow ample time for public participation, and should pay close attention to what members of the public have to say. The third is that agencies should scrutinize existing regulations with the help of cost-benefit analysis, and consider simplifying or junking them. In 2011, President Barack Obama codified these ideas through executive order. But executive orders do not apply to the “independent” agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. And if the goal is enduring reform, legislation is the best way to go.” (June 22, 2017)

Ted Gayer, Vice President and Director – Economic Studies, Brookings; Robert Litan, Former Brookings Expert Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Philip Wallach, Senior Fellow – Governance Studies, Brookings

 “At least since the Ford administration, there have been numerous efforts to require agencies to pay greater heed to analyzing the costs and benefits of major new regulations. While prospective benefit-cost analyses have achieved a role in regulatory policymaking, regulations have accumulated for decades because agencies make little effort to eliminate or revise existing burdensome regulations.” (October 20, 2017)

Rachel Augustine Potter, Assistant Professor of Politics, University of Virginia

“Regulation invariably creates societal winners and losers; conducting regulatory analysis forces an agency to be more transparent regarding its assumptions. In other words, the practice provides a departure point for an informed discussion among experts and stakeholders. The upshot of all of this is that Trump’s anti-regulatory agenda is within reach, but it will require sustained effort and commitment from the (already overtaxed) new administration.”  (February 6, 2017)