By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
WASHINGTON, DC—On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, the House passed HR5, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017.
US Representative Martha Roby (R-Alabama) celebrated the bill’s passage saying it provides long overdue relief to American job creators and families.
“For years, the rising tide of federal regulations has hampered our economy,” Roby said. “Excessive regulations often cause prices to rise and wages to fall, making it difficult for small businesses to compete and tough for middle class families to make ends meet.
“The regulatory state has spun out of control largely because oversight and accountability at federal agencies has eroded. The Regulatory Accountability Act combines several essential reforms that will restore our government’s foundational system of checks and balances. HR5 puts us on the path to ending burdensome overregulation and facilitating economic growth once again. This legislation is a long overdue victory for American job creators and families, and I was proud to support it.”
Proponents argue that federal regulations now impose an estimated economic burden of over $1 trillion. They claim that the Obama Administration set records for these regulations, implementing over 600 major regulations in total – or an average of one large-scale federal regulation every three working days. As of August 2016, these regulations carried an economic weight of more than $740 billion.
If signed into law, HR5 would solve the problem of overreaching federal regulations by bringing together six separate reform bills that collectively would: require federal agencies to choose the lowest-cost rulemaking alternative; require greater opportunity for public input and vetting – especially for major and billion-dollar regulations; end judicial deference to bureaucrats’ regulatory interpretations; require federal agencies to account for the direct and indirect impacts new regulations have on small businesses and find flexible ways to reduce them;
prohibit new billion-dollar regulations from being implemented until courts can resolve litigation challenging them; force federal agencies to publish online information about the nature, costs, and timing of developing regulations in a timely fashion; and publish online summaries of new proposed rules in plain language so that the public can understand what the federal agencies are actually proposing to do.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said in a statement, “One big reason that our economy is so far from its potential—one reason there is so much frustration among Americans—is the crush of regulations that are coming out of Washington. Go just about anywhere in the country—be it coal mines in the Rust Belt or paper mills out West or in the Midwest—you will see jobs and whole industries in jeopardy.”
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement, “An incoming Administration promises a new approach to make America great again. Central to that approach is regulatory reform. The Obama Administration abused regulation to force its will on the American people. The assembling Trump Administration promises to wipe out abusive regulation—freeing Americans to innovate and prosper once more.”
HR5 passed 238 to 183. All 233 Republicans supported the bill, with five Democrats joining them. The bill now goes to the the Senate.