Law & Order

U.S. Senate Committee Passes Regulatory Reform Bills

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee passed two bills to make it easier for congress to prevent overly burdensome regulations from becoming law and three other bills intended to make the regulatory process more cost-effective and small-business friendly. The committee passed “Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act,” which would require congress to approve regulations that have a $100 million impact or greater on the economy before they can take effect, and the “Midnight Rules Relief Act,” which would make it easier for congress to overturn last-minute regulations issued by an outgoing president. Under current law, congress can repeal a regulation issued within the last 60 legislative days by passing a resolution with a simple majority of votes and the president’s signature. The “Midnight Rules” bill allows one resolution to cover multiple regulations.

The committee also passed the “Regulatory Accountability Act,” which requires federal agencies to calculate the costs and benefits of new regulations and factor in both to determine the most cost-effective option, and the “Early Participation in Regulations Act,” which requires federal agencies to provide at least 90 days advanced notice prior to publishing a proposed rulemaking. Finally, the committee approved the “Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act,” which would eliminate loopholes that have reduced the effectiveness of the 1980 law that has provided small businesses a greater voice within the regulatory process. Each of the five bills will require 60 votes for passage by the U.S. Senate. The REINS Act and Midnight Rules have already been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. 

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