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Thune, Lankford Introduce Regulatory Reform Bill

Senators’ legislation would crack down the Biden administration’s unnecessary and burdensome regulations

March 16, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) today introduced the Regulatory Transparency Act, legislation that would hold the Biden administration accountable by requiring federal agencies to conduct a more transparent and objective analysis of the impacts proposed regulations have on the economy. The bill would also require agencies to justify the regulation and consider less burdensome ways of meeting the measure’s goal.

“All too often, federal agencies issue overly burdensome regulations without adequately assessing the impact on consumers and small businesses,” said Thune. “Unfortunately, this lack of transparency has become commonplace in the Biden administration. My legislation would hold government agencies accountable by enforcing rules that require them to analyze the economic impacts of onerous regulations before imposing them on the economy.”

“There are thousands of federal regulations that govern every business in the US – which are eventually costs passed on to customers,” said Lankford. “The government should think through the real cost of regulations to the American people. The Regulatory Transparency Act will require federal agencies to thoroughly analyze new regulatory requirements to ensure they do not burden the American people.”

The Regulatory Transparency Act would:

  • Require a Thorough Regulatory Impact Analysis: For economically significant rules, agencies must undertake a regulatory impact analysis that is transparent, replicable, objective; considers the impact on all sizes of business; and takes into account the cumulative burden from other regulations. 
  • Require Consideration of Sunset Dates: Requires agencies to consider whether a sunset date is appropriate for the significant rule under consideration, including an analysis of whether the rule could become outdated in light of changed circumstances or become excessively burdensome after a period of time. 
  • Expand Judicial Review: Subject the regulatory impact analyses conducted for significant rules to judicial review, increasing the incentive for agencies to be truly objective and transparent in conducting a regulatory impact analysis.

The Office of Management and Budget requires federal agencies to undertake a regulatory impact analysis for economically significant regulations in order to determine whether the benefits of a regulation will exceed costs. However, most federal agencies opt to first move forward with a regulation and then use cherry-picked data to overstate its benefits and understate its costs. Creating a more rigorous, objective, and transparent process would force agencies to weigh any risks when evaluating the effects of burdensome regulations.