Senate Considers Regulatory Reform Bills

MAY 17, 2017

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will consider three bills this week to reduce the burdens of Federal regulations — the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (REINS Act), the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (RAA), and the Midnight Rules Relief Act (MRRA). The bills have passed the House.

ILMA and a group of over 600 businesses and trade associations previously sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), urging the quick passage of the RAA to reform the process by which Federal agencies analyze and formulate new regulations and guidance documents.

The RAA would:

  • Allow for earlier public participation to help shape regulations;
  • Require agencies to choose the lowest cost option that achieves the goal or demonstrate that the rule would not succeed without the more-costly option;
  • Allow for on-the-record administrative hearings for high-cost regulations;
  • Mandate that courts must be satisfied that agencies conducted thorough, unbiased rulemaking procedures before deferring to their decisions; and,
  • Place restrictions on the use of interim final regulations

The MRRA would amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow Congress to “package” multiple regulations and rescind those rules with one vote. As currently constituted, Congress must address each rule it desires to nullify on an individual basis under the CRA, which would be a cumbersome process for regulations.

The REINS Act would require that Congress pass a joint resolution of approval within 70 session days after a Federal agency finalizes a major rule — those resulting in compliance costs in excess of $100 million — or it would not become operative. Essentially, Congress would have to affirmatively approve a new major regulation before it could take effect.

All three bills would advance President Trump’s regulatory reform agenda. ILMA has advocated for smarter regulations to ensure workplace safety and protect public health and the environment; however, with an estimated $2 trillion price tag for regulatory compliance, the Federal regulatory system needs improvement.​​