Law & Order

U.S. Senate Committee Passes Regulatory Reform Bills


By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee passed two SEMA-supported bills that make it easier for Congress to prevent overly burdensome regulations from becoming law. The “Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act,” S. 92, would require Congress to approve economically significant regulations, including those that have a $100 million impact or greater on the economy, before they can take effect. The committee also passed the Unfunded Mandates Accountability and Transparency Act,” S. 4077, which provides business with a stronger voice in shaping the regulatory process and would require agencies to pursue less burdensome regulatory alternatives. Both bills will now be eligible for consideration on the U.S. Senate floor. Below is additional information on each bill:

The "Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act” would establish a congressional approval process for economically significant rulemakings from the Executive Branch, ensuring that the following types of rules must be approved by Congress before they take effect:

  • Rules with an annual economic impact of more than $100 million.
  • Those that will result in a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, government agencies, or geographic regions.
  • Rules with significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

The Unfunded Mandates Accountability and Transparency Act would:

  • Strengthen regulatory impact analyses under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) by requiring agencies to assess how the regulations they issue impact jobs and consider alternatives to agency rules.
  • Require agencies to allow public input earlier in the rulemaking process to develop alternatives.
  • Require agencies to choose the alternative that maximizes net benefits, unless the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator approves another option that accounts for unquantifiable costs or benefits.
  • Extend the analytical requirements of UMRA to independent agencies.
  • Apply the UMRA requirements to rules that impose mandates on private sector employers.
  • Allow for meaningful judicial review of all agencies’ compliance with UMRA requirements.

For more information, contact Eric Snyder at