One Step in Regulatory Accountability

Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:32 pm

The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 13 passed H.R. 185, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015, by a vote of 250-175 with bipartisan support. TRSA worked with coalition members to shepherd this bill through the House.

The bill modernizes the Administrative Procedure Act’s rulemaking process, which has remained unchanged for nearly 70 years. The bill would bring the informal rulemaking process now used by agencies to write multi-billion-dollar rules into the 21st century by:

  • Increasing public participation in shaping the most costly regulations before they are proposed;
  • Requiring that agencies must choose the least costly option, unless they can demonstrate that public health, safety or welfare requires a more costly requirement;
  • Giving interested parties the opportunity to hold agencies accountable for their compliance with the Information Quality Act;
  • Providing for on-the-record administrative hearings for the most costly regulations to ensure that agency data is well tested and reviewed;
  • Restricting agencies’ use of interim final regulations where no comments are taken before a regulation takes effect and providing for expedited judicial review of whether that approach is justified; and
  • Providing for a more rigorous test in legal challenges for those regulations that would have the most impact.   

The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 builds on established principles of fair regulatory process and review that have been embodied in bipartisan executive orders dating to at least the Clinton Administration. We all want to ensure that federal agencies use the best information available in rulemakings to produce sound regulations.