This week in Congress

Congress returns form President's Day recess. The Senate will continue working on approving President Trump's nominations.

The House is in session from Monday through Friday. Among the legislation that will be consider is the Regulatory Integrity Act  (HR 1004). This bill requires federal agencies to post "....pending agency regulatory action, the date the agency began to develop or consider the action, its status, an estimate of the date it will be final and in effect, a brief description of such action, and each public communication about the action issued by the agency, including the date of the communication, its intended audience, the method of communication, and a copy of the original communication." within 24 hours of taking the action.

Campaign for Liberty is supporting this bill. Those who wish to increase the transparency of the regulatory process should call their Representatives and request that they support the Regulatory Integrity Act.

The House will also consider HR 998, the SCRUB Act. This act establishes a commission to reconsider what parts of a regulatory program should be repealed in order to lower the costs of regulations. The commission's goal is to lower the cost of regulations by 15% and they will use the following criteria to judge whether or not to repeal the rules:

  • the original purpose of the rules was achieved;

  • the implementation, compliance, administration, enforcement, imposition of unfunded mandates, or other costs of the rules are not justified by a cost-benefit analysis;

  • the rules have been rendered unnecessary or obsolete;

  • the rules are ineffective at achieving their purposes;

  • the rules overlap, duplicate, or conflict with other federal, state, or local rules;

  • the rules have excessive compliance costs, impose unfunded mandates, or are otherwise excessively burdensome compared to possible alternatives;

  • the rules inhibit innovation or harm competition;

  • the rules limit or prevent an agency from applying new or emerging technologies to improve efficiency and effectiveness of government; and

  • the rules harm wage growth, including wage growth for minimum wage and part-time workers.

Anything that lowers the regulatory burden is worth supporting, but this seems to be relatively small step. Why not repeal all regulations that exceed the federal government's constitutional authority or that violate individual liberty?

The House will also consider HR 1009, which creates a "Regulatory Working Group" to "...assist agencies in identifying and analyzing important regulatory issues, including, at a minimum— “(A) the development of innovative regulatory techniques; “(B) the methods, efficacy, and utility of comparative risk assessment in regulatory decision making; and “(C) the development of streamlined regulatory approaches for small businesses and other entities."

Streamlining and innovating the regulation process may seem like a good thing, but should supporters of liberty really waste time making the regulatory state more efficient?

The House will also consider legislation overturning an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule reequipping employers to record and keep records of workplace accidents even if they did not become aware of them within 7 days after the incident occurred. The rule also requires the records be permanently stored. This rule not only imposes new costs on business, it also exceeds OSHA's statutory authority.

The House will consider a number of bills under suspension including:

1. HR 442-- Reauthorizes various NASA programs, including programs destined to send a man to Mars.

2. HR 1033-- This bill would require the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) to create an online searchable database containing information about cases in which fees and expenses were awarded by courts or federal agencies to individuals or entities under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

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