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Capitol Correspondence - 04.28.17

Regulatory Accountability Act Introduced in Senate

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On April 26, Senators Portman (R-OH), Heitkamp (D-ND), Hatch (R-OR), and Manchin (D-WV) introduced the “Regulatory Accountability Act” (S. 951), which seeks to improve the process of vetting new regulations and ensuring they are cost-effectively meeting their policy goals. For any “high impact” rule, defined as “likely to cause an annual effect on the economy of $1,000,000,000 or more” adjusted periodically to reflect increases for inflation. The proposed legislation would require agencies to consider additional information from stakeholders beyond the current notice and comment process, and demonstrate that the policy goal being advanced is being done in the most cost-effective way possible. It would also impact the standard for judicial review of regulations, lowering the evidenciary standard from “arbitrary and capricious” to “substantial evidence”, placing a higher burden on agencies to demonstrate the necessity and efficiency of the rule if challenged through litigation.