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Thornberry, House continue regulatory reform effort

Washington, January 12, 2017 | Jon Corley (202-225-3706)
U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) voted in support of the “Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017,” H.R. 5, which combines six previously passed or introduced House bills that will reform the federal regulatory system. The bill passed the House by a vote of 238-183.

“People are sick and tired of regulations that hurt jobs and our economy, and Congressional Republicans made repealing or correcting burdensome regulations the first item on our agenda. The provisions in this bill will make the regulatory process more transparent, federal agencies more accountable, and the regulations they produce less costly,” Thornberry said.

The legislation is the second major bill dealing with regulations to pass the House in the 115th Congress, and Thornberry said the House will continue to focus on this issue as the year progresses. As a part of that effort, he has sent a letter to local Chambers of Commerce asking them to gather information on the most burdensome regulations their businesses face.

“Business owners understand better than anyone how harmful some of these regulations can be because they are the people who have to comply with them. Their feedback will help me and others in Congress direct our efforts where they will make the most difference,” said Thornberry.

H.R. 5 includes the following provisions:

Title I – “Regulatory Accountability Act,” which requires agencies to choose the lowest-cost rulemaking alternative that meets objectives and requires greater opportunity for public input and vetting of critical information;

Title II – “Separation of Powers Restoration Act,” which would rein in the Executive Branch by scaling back Chevron-based deference to federal agencies, by requiring de novo review of agency actions for all relevant questions of law, including Constitutional and statutory interpretation. It would place judicial review back in the hands of the Judiciary, and make clear the lines between judicial interpretation of law and executive enforcement of the law;

Title III – “Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act,” which would expand the Regulatory Flexibility Act requiring regulatory agencies to account for the effect on small businesses in their rulemaking. It would require agencies to include the indirect effects of regulations on small businesses, not just the direct impact. It would also require agencies to have a small business advocacy panel to review major regulations;

Title IV – “REVIEW Act,” which would prohibit new billion-dollar rules from taking effect until courts can resolve timely-filed litigation challenging their promulgation;

Title V – “ALERT Act,” which would require agencies to provide detailed disclosures on regulations; and

Title VI – “Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act,” which would require each agency to include a 100-word, plain-language summary of a proposed rule when providing notice of a rulemaking.