Sep 2, 2015

Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 Introduced in the Senate

​The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015, S. 2006, has been introduced in the Senate with bipartisan support by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Angus King (I-ME), and four other original co-sponsors. ACA continues to support this legislation, which would bring common sense reforms to the regulatory process.

The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 passed the House of Representatives on Jan. 13, by a vote of 250-175 with bipartisan support. ACA supports the legislation, and signed on to a letter sent to members of Congress the previous day, urging swift passage to modernize the nearly 70-year-old Administrative Procedure Act and improve how federal agencies write the regulations that most significantly affect the U.S. economy.

ACA believes that regulations need to be narrowly tailored, supported by strong and credible data and evidence, and impose the lowest possible burden while still implementing Congressional intent; when agencies produce regulations that do not reflect these ideals, better mechanisms to hold them accountable are needed.

The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 would enhance the regulatory process by
- Increasing public participation in shaping the most costly regulations before they are proposed;
- Requiring that agencies must choose the least costly option, unless they can demonstrate that public health, safety, or welfare requires a more costly requirement;
- Giving interested parties the opportunity to hold agencies accountable for their compliance with the Information Quality Act;
- Providing for on-the-record administrative hearings for the most costly regulations to insure that agency data is well tested and reviewed; and
- Providing for a more rigorous test in legal challenges for those regulations that would have the most impact.

S. 2006 would improve the process by which federal agencies promulgate regulations to improve accountability and the integrity of the rulemaking process. The bill would not prevent federal agencies from issuing regulations or accomplishing needed regulatory objectives. It would, however, make the regulatory process more transparent, agencies more accountable, and regulations more carefully designed.

The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 builds on established principles of fair regulatory process and review that have been embodied in bipartisan executive orders dating to at least the Clinton Administration.

The bill would update the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 to deal with the realities of today's regulatory environment. This legislation is particularly necessary right now because of the recent growth in the number of billion- and multi-billion-dollar rules, which create uncertainty, stifle hiring, and displace workers. Many more such "megarules" will be finalized in the next few years

Contact Alison Keane at ACA for more information.