OMB Watch is out with a new article today that explores the risks posed by another anti-regulatory bill in the Senate, known as the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act. Though the legislation would impact everything from the safety of children's toys to Americans' financial security, it may be fast-tracked to a committee vote later this month – without a hearing.
The article explains:
The Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act (S. 3468), introduced on Aug. 1 by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Susan Collins (R-ME), may appear to be just another item in the string of anti-regulatory legislation considered, but not enacted, by the 112th Congress. Unfortunately, because it boasts both Democratic and Republican co-sponsors, it appears to be heading straight to mark-up within the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).
* * *
Independent regulatory agencies implement a wide variety of statutes, each of which requires that the agency consider a variety of different factors before issuing rules. The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, must determine whether its rules adequately protect investors, while the Consumer Product Safety Commission must weigh the costs of product safeguards against the risk that the public will be harmed by those products. Congress requires some agencies to complete cost-benefit analyses to justify rules, while other agencies are not required to do so. The Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act would override the unique priorities given to each independent agency in the legislation that created it, requiring instead that every independent agency focus first and foremost on the economic impact of its proposed rules.
* * *
Before taking such dramatic action to curtail the independence of agencies that previous Congresses deliberately established, HSGAC should hold a hearing to examine the full implications of this proposed legislation. What is potentially at stake is Congress’ ability to ensure ongoing enforcement in some key areas of law. Legislators need to carefully consider whether they want to give up this authority and whether this bill would undermine the ability of independent agencies to fulfill the missions for which they were created.
The full text of the article is available by clicking here.
UPDATE: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has postponed a possible vote on this bill until mid-November.back to Blog