U.S. Representative John Carney (D-DE) today introduced The Regulatory Reform Act of 2012 to guarantee an up-or-down vote once every four years on a package to cut, modernize, streamline, and improve regulations. Co-sponsors of the legislation include Democrats and Republicans from the bipartisan policy group founded by Congressman Carney.
The legislation would require the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to submit the Federal Regulatory Reform report to Congress, detailing ineffective rules and recommendations to modify or repeal those rules. All recommendations would require supporting data and the rules in question must have costs shown to outweigh the benefits. No amendments would be permitted -- ensuring a prompt up-or-down vote.
"Modernizing regulations is an important priority for our nation's small business owners," said Congressman Carney. "There are dozens of federal agencies with recommendations for improving the regulatory environment. This bipartisan proposal ensures that Congress votes on a comprehensive package of reforms, instead of dozens of members introducing dozens of pieces of legislation that end up stalled by special interests and parochial concerns. By passing this legislation, we ensure an ongoing process by which Congress works with the Executive Branch to modify outdated and ineffective regulations, while maintaining necessary federal rules and safety standards. I'm particularly pleased to be introducing the bill today, after President Obama's Executive Order to further enhance the regulatory lookback by all federal agencies."
As President Obama pointed out in his State of the Union address, there are dozens of unnecessary regulations, including one that, until recently, forced dairy farmers to spend money "proving that they could contain a spill -- because milk was somehow classified as an oil." It is expected that in the next ten years, that simple change will save the industry up to $1.4 billion.
OIRA will draw from action plans agencies are required to compile that periodically review existing regulations to determine whether they can be made more effective. OIRA will also consult with relevant congressional committees in the months prior to publication. Members will be able to suggest changes and respond to OIRA's proposals. In addition, the list of proposed regulatory changes will be published in Federal Register for public comment.
The legislation establishes a process for prompt consideration in the House and Senate by relevant committees, followed by an expedited floor vote.