Regulatory reviews would toughen under new bill

Sen. Pat Roberts

Sen. Pat Roberts has introduced a bill that would strengthen rules on reviewing the economic impact of regulations.

Senators who believe agency officials have not done enough to assess their regulations' impact on the economy and job creation have introduced a bill to strengthen and codify a presidential memo from 2011.

Agencies are already required to minimize the regulatory burden on small companies, and two years ago, President Barack Obama issued a memo telling regulators to consider performance standards rather than meeting detailed design standards for such regulations. He also wrote that rules should simplify reporting and compliance requirements -- by streamlining forms and offering electronic filing options, for example.

"Two years ago, I applauded the president for recognizing that the volumes of regulations released by his administration were hurting job creation, stifling growth and generally making life more difficult on hardworking Americans," said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who introduced the bill Jan. 31. "However, since that day, this promising executive order has received little more than lip service."

The Regulatory Responsibility for Our Economy Act (S. 191) would ensure that agencies consider the economic burden on small businesses, gather stakeholder input and promote innovation whenever they propose new regulations.

It would also require the administration to adjust regulations by streamlining those that would have a significant impact on businesses or even repealing some of them.

The bill has received letters of support from a variety of organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. It has been sent to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for further consideration.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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