New Rules for Federal Regulatory Accountability

A likely scenario for a wounded President unable to get his energy and environmental agenda through a disbelieving Congress is to use his executive authority to regulate everything that moves through the US EPA and other Federal agencies.

The new Republican majority in the House should guard against this over-reach by adding regulatory process reform to their agenda.  TEA party members will probably welcome this given their natural concerns for limited government intrusion into our business and personal lives.

So here is my suggestion for a regulatory reform agenda:

1.      Mandatory Balancing of Interests in all Federal Regulations. All Federal regulations must reasonably balance policy objectives intended with the public and economic interests of the nation.  This new rule would impose the burden on the Government to design regulatory processes that insure such balancing as well as seriously take into consideration this balancing requirement.  Economic impacts of the proposed rule would have to be considered side by side with its environmental or other policy benefits and costs. Just as environmental interests have standing to sue over regulations so would individuals or the business community gain standing to sue to enforce this balancing requirement.  Mutually assured destruction is a good way to limit the reach of regulations and forces all sides of the issue to own their burdens or defend their positions in court.  The loser should be required to pay the litigation costs to avoid frivolous lawsuits.  This rule would apply to all current and future regulations.

2.      All Federal Regulations must be submitted to Congress for an up or down vote. We learned our lesson in ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank bill that Congress avoids making tough decisions by punting unlimited regulatory power to Federal agencies often with little direction on legislative intent.  This must stop.  Give Congress 90 days from submittal of final proposed Federal Regulations to act up or down in a recorded vote  (fast track with no amendments) or the rules go into effect.  Forcing  legislative accountability for regulatory actions clarifies the legislative intent and subjects the legislators approving them to the accountability for the consequence of rules gone bad.

3.      Federal Sunset for All Regulations. Require a sunset for every regulation at least every ten years so we have to rethink this stuff periodically.  If the goal is to control the size and reach of government and force it to balance interests reasonably the Congress must fix the problem of regulatory free will.

There ends the rant!