Regulatory Reform in the 112th Congress

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The Regulatory Review considers the most prominent regulatory reform bills currently pending in Congress.

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One of the defining themes of the 112th Congress—if not its most prominent agenda item—is regulatory reform. With members of Congress now returning from their winter vacation, a series of regulatory reform bills are pending in various stages before both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Regulatory reform is not just an interest of the legislative branch. Late last week, President Obama announced that, when Congress returns, he will be asking for authority to merge six government agencies that interact with businesses in an effort to make government more “lean.”

The Regulatory Review has already featured some of the most notable pending bills. For example, we have examined the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require agencies to submit major final rules to Congress for approval before they could take effect. We have also considered the Regulatory Accountability Act, which would mandate economic analysis requirements and allow judicial review of these assessments.  Both the REINS Act and the Regulatory Accountability Act have been approved by the House of Representatives, as have amendments to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, although the fates of these three bills in the Senate remain most uncertain.

In this series, The Regulatory Review considers ten other bills that would alter, in some cases significantly, the current federal regulatory process.  Due to filibuster rules, fewer regulatory reform bills are likely to be approved in the Senate than in the House. However, many Senators can be expected to take continued interest in regulatory reform in the coming weeks and months.

While few of these bills are likely to be approved by both chambers, and fewer still can be expected to win President Obama’s signature, they clearly reflect, when considered with other legislation, a rising tide of interest in reforming the U.S. regulatory process.

 Regulatory Reform in Congress: Part I

In our series, we first focus on regulatory reform bills introduced in the House of Representatives.

 Regulatory Reform in Congress: Part II

In our series, we turn our attention to regulatory reform bills introduced in the Senate.