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Blunt wants less 'regulatory burden' on 'job creators,' would codify executive order

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Senator Blunt | Flickr
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., wants federal agencies to review regulations that have an impact of $100 million or more on the economy to determine whether they have outlived their usefulness and have become an unnecessary burden on “job creators.” He’s introduced the “Regulatory Review and Sunset Act” to require agencies to consider public input when they conduct their reviews. 

Federal agencies issue rules and regulations to protect the public on a wide range of subjects from “public health, welfare, safety and the environment to promoting economic growth, competitiveness and job creation,” according to a 2011 presidential executive orderon regulatory review.  Under that executive order, federal agencies are already required to “facilitate the periodic review of existing significant regulations…” 

Blunt wants to make that review process a matter of federal statute. “I think putting an end date on these regulations requires the regulators to continue to make the case that this regulation is necessary, to continue to stay focused on it rather than immediately think, now what do we focus on next?” 

In addition to a statutory requirement for such reviews, Blunt wants Congress to get a vote on the fate of any rule or regulations that has significant impact on the economy. “I think (public input and congressional approval) would be the two things that would do the most to push regulation back in the direction where the regulators would be more responsible,“ said Blunt.

“Every day, I hear from Missouri families, farmers, and small businesses who say one of the biggest barriers to job creation and economic growth is the extreme regulatory burden,” Blunt said in a printed statement introducing the measure. Blunt cited 3,759 new regulations were finalized by federal agencies last year, more than 10 new regulations a day, as evidence of his concern.

A 2014 report by the National Association of Manufacturers puts the cost of compliance with federal regulations for small businesses at nearly $12,000 per employee annually.

Blunt’s bill would require the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget to inventory existing rules that have an impact of $100 million or more on the economy and to publish a list of those rules. The measure also requires agencies to consider comments from the public, regulated community and Congress, along with what Blunt calls the “costs and burdens of regulations.”

The measure would also establish a petition process that allows the public and Congress  to request the review of “non-significant regulations.” 

Executive order

Currently, agencies operate under an executive order that says “agencies shall consider how best to promote retrospective analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned.  Such retrospective analyses, including supporting data, should be released online whenever possible.” They are to consider public input in such reviews. 

U.S. Randy Hultgren, R-Park Ridge, Ill., is sponsoring a companion bill in the House.